What is laryngitis?
Laryngitis is when your voice box (larynx) or vocal cords become inflamed from infection, irritation, or being overused. This inflammation can change the way your vocal cords vibrate, causing changes to your voice.
Most cases of laryngitis go away by themselves in less than two weeks.
Symptoms of laryngitis
The main symptoms of laryngitis include:
- Hoarseness, which can include a change in volume or pitch and range from a quiet, scratchy voice to a harsh, deep voice
- Losing your voice entirely
- A cough that is not going away
- Feeling the need to clear your throat often
- A sore throat or pain when talking. Swallowing may also be painful.
Common symptoms in children include:
Types of laryngitis
Laryngitis is classified either as acute, which means a sudden onset and a short duration, or chronic, which means lasting a long time.
Acute laryngitis generally lasts less than two weeks and goes away on its own. You can often treat it at home, and it may not require medical attention. Vocal strain and irritants can cause it, but it is more often caused by infections.
This type of laryngitis lasts longer than three weeks. It can be caused by an infection, but more often it is caused by irritants or overuse of your voice. Treatment may require working with a speech-language pathologist or making lifestyle changes to adjust how and when you use your voice.
Causes of laryngitis
There are several causes of laryngitis. These include:
Exposure to allergens like dust or certain fumes can also lead to a case of laryngitis.
Smoking/vaping and other irritants
Poor vocal hygiene
Vocal hygiene is how you care for your voice. Poor vocal hygiene can lead to laryngitis. Proper vocal hygiene includes:
- Staying hydrated
- Warming up your voice before doing things like singing or giving a long speech
- Moving to a quieter area to talk instead of talking over loud music or the television
- Using other signals besides yelling when trying to get someone's attention
When to see the doctor for laryngitis
You can often treat laryngitis at home. However, you should see a doctor if your symptoms last longer than two weeks. You should also see a doctor if you have difficulty swallowing or you keep having vocal problems.
Seek out emergency medical attention if:
Diagnosis and tests for laryngitis
To diagnose laryngitis, a doctor may look down your throat or test your throat or blood for bacteria or viruses.
For cases of chronic laryngitis, a doctor may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Treatments for laryngitis
You can treat many cases of laryngitis at home by:
- Taking over-the-counter medications to treat a sore throat and coughing
- Using throat-soothing lozenges
- Speaking as little as possible
- Using a humidifier
- Staying hydrated
- Gargling with warm saltwater
- Staying away from smoke and other irritants
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can cause dehydration
- Avoiding allergens
If you have laryngitis for more than two weeks, go to the doctor. They may give you antibiotics to treat an infection. Sometimes, people with chronic laryngitis work with a speech-language pathologist to learn how to use their voice properly and avoid stressing it.
Some people may also benefit from taking oral steroids for bad cases of laryngitis. However, experts say it is best for those with chronic laryngitis to avoid long-term steroid use and address the cause of the problem.
Mayo Clinic: "Laryngitis."
National Health Service: "Laryngitis."
StatPearls: "Acute Laryngitis."
University of North Carolina School of Medicine: "Taking Care of Your Voice: What is Vocal Hygiene?"
Top How Long Does Laryngitis Last Related Articles
Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, Augmentin XR, Augmentin ES-600, Amoclan)Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid (Augmentin Amoclan, Augmentin XR, Augmentin ES-600) is an antibiotic used to treat middle ear infections, sore throat, sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. Side effects include abdominal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea, gas, headache, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.
cephalexinCephalexin is a prescription antibiotic used for treating middle ear infections (otitis media), tonsillitis, laryngitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), skin infections, bone infections, throat infections, bronchitis, and bone infections. Common side effects of cephalexin include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, and vaginitis. Dosage of cephalexin depends on the type of infection.
Cold or Flu: How Do You Know?Discover the difference between cold vs. flu symptoms. Learn the difference between cold and flu symptoms. Read about cold and flu treatments such as over-the-counter medicines.
Common ColdThe common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
HoarsenessHoarseness (abnormal deep, harsh, raspy voice) is caused by a variety of conditions in which the larynx (voice box and vocal cords) are irritated or injured. Causes can include vocal strain or other inflammation of the vocal cords by infection or toxins. Treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause.
How Do You Get Rid of Laryngitis Quickly?Learn what medical treatments can help with laryngitis and speed up your recovery.
Flu (Influenza)Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. The flu may be prevented with an annual influenza vaccination.
Is Laryngitis Contagious?Laryngitis is inflammation and swelling of the voice box (larynx). Causes of laryngitis are viral, bacterial, fungal, strenuous singing or talking, chemical irritants, and other underlying medical conditions. Symptoms of laryngitis are hoarseness, a weak or loss of voice, sore throat, dry throat, a tickling sensation in the back of the throat, or irritated or raw throat. Treatment of laryngitis depends upon the cause.
LaryngitisLaryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box (vocal cords). The most common cause of acute laryngitis is an infection, which inflames the vocal cords. Symptoms may vary from the degree of laryngitis and age of the person (laryngitis in infants and children is more commonly caused by croup).
Laryngitis Home RemediesLaryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx. Inflammation of the larynx is most often caused by viral infections. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, problems swallowing, and fever. The voice changes produced by laryngitis may last after the fever and other symptoms of the acute infection have gone away. The best natural home remedy to relieve pain and other symptoms caused by laryngitis includes resting your voice and breathing humidified air often. Turning on the hot water in the bathroom and then sitting in the steam can soothe and relieve laryngitis symptoms. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) can relieve pain and inflammation caused by laryngitis. Don't give children aspirin to infants, toddlers, children, and teens because of the risk of developing Reye's syndrome, which can be fatal. Home remedies like resting your voice and sitting in humidified air can cure laryngitis. Medications like anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can relieve and soothe pain and symptoms caused by laryngitis.
Laryngitis: Symptoms, Causes, and TreatmentsLaryngitis is the inflammation of the voice box (larynx). If caused by a virus or bacteria, laryngitis may be contagious.
penicillin VPenicillin V (Veetids and Pen-Vee-K have been discontinued) is an antibiotic prescribed to treat infections from a variety of bacteria that causes infections of the middle ear, tonsils, throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, urinary tract, and gonorrhea. Side effects include rash, itching, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea. Drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Reflux Laryngitis (Diet, Home Remedies, Medicine)
Reflux laryngitis is caused by acid refluxing back up through the esophagus and voice box. Reflux laryngitis causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, larynx, and throat; and can lead to symptoms, signs, and other problems like esophagitis, sinusitis, strictures, throat clearing, swallowing problems, asthma, chronic cough, and growths on the vocal cords. Typical symptoms of reflux laryngitis include heartburn, hoarseness, or a sensation of a foreign body in the throat.
Reflux laryngitis can be treated with diet chanes, OTC medication, prescription medication, and lifestyle changes.
Cold, Flu, and Cough: Things That Suppress Your Immune SystemA strong immune system is your best protection against infections and illnesses. Find out what can weaken that defense.