Symptoms of Laryngitis

By  , Expert Content
Jul 11, 2011

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Laryngitis is a common condition for which people visit their doctor. It may be caused by infection (virus, bacteria); irritation of the throat because of excessive smoking, singing or shouting; allergies and postnasal drip or gastroesophageal reflux disorder.

Laryngitis can be acute (hoarseness or loss of voice appears in a few hours to days as in cold or cough, or after a night of singing and shouting, or being exposed to a lot of cigarette smoke) or chronic. In chronic laryngitis the symptoms lasts for more than two weeks and can recur (comes back after treatment).

Symptoms of Acute Laryngitis

In acute laryngitis the symptoms begin suddenly and may progress over a period or two to three days, then improve gradually. Most people start to feel better within a week. Common symptoms of laryngitis include:

  • Hoarseness or change of voice
  • difficulty in speaking
  • sore throat
  • tickling or itching sensation in the throat (may be due to reflux laryngitis). This may cause a need to clear the throat repeatedly.
  • fever (usually is mild to moderate)
  • headache
  • irritating cough
  • breathing difficulty (occurs because of swelling of the larynx. It is common in young children who have smaller, narrower windpipes and not so common in adults).

Affect of laryngitis on voice can vary. Some people may have hoarse voice whereas some others may not be able to talk at all, or only whisper or croak. The voice may become worse as the day progresses and causes increase in inflammation of the vocal cords because of talking. Changed voice (hoarseness, croaky voice) may last for a few days to week after the other symptoms improve.

Related Symptoms

People with laryngitis because of some other infection such as cold, flu, throat infection (pharyngitis) or tonsillitis may have symptoms of the associated disease as well. They may have symptoms such as swelling of neck glands, runny nose, pain on swallowing, malaise and tiredness, and body pain.

Chronic laryngitis

Change of voice is the major symptom in chronic laryngitis. In chronic laryngitis hoarseness may recur often. Chronic laryngitis is a common problem in people who overuse their voice, such as professional singers or teachers (as they are not able to rest their voice). Changed voice or hoarseness may develop slowly and can last for weeks or even months. Occasionally a person may develop lasting hoarseness as a result of permanent damage to the larynx.



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