Laryngitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Laryngitis is inflammation of the voice box, or larynx, resulting in voice changes such as hoarseness or loss of the voice completely in some cases. It is most commonly due to an infection such as the common cold or flu and typically follows a period of experiencing a cough or sore throat. However, laryngitis can also develop in response to chronic irritation of the larynx. For example, some conditions like gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), some cancers, chronic tonsillitis, and other conditions can lead to inflammation. Voice overuse and irritants like cigarette smoke can also lead to irritation of the voice box and laryngitis.

Other symptoms that might be present, depending on the cause of the laryngitis, include

In the case of infection, the throat may appear reddened or there may be whitish deposits in the throat.

Other causes of laryngitis

  • Bacterial Infection
  • Fungal Infection
  • Nerve Damage (Vocal Cord Paralysis)
  • Polyps of the Larynx
  • Smoke or Irritant Inhalation
  • Use of Inhaled Steroids
  • Viral Infection
  • Vocal Cord Nodules
  • Voice Overuse


Which illness is known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection? See Answer

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.