Last reviewed 11/2020

Laryngitis is an inflammation or infection of the larynx and the vocal cords

  • inflammation of the vocal cords alters the way they vibrate and the sound of the voice
  • the change in voice depends on the degree of inflammation (1)

Laryngitis can be:

  • acute or chronic
  • infective or inflammatory
  • an isolated disorder
  • part of systemic disease (2)

Prevalence of the condition is difficult to estimate. Royal College of General Practitioners reported an average incidence of 6.6 cases of laryngitis and tracheitis per 100 000 patients (all ages) per week in 2010 (2)

Typically patients with laryngitis will complain of a cluster of non-specific laryngeal signs and symptoms that can also be caused by other diseases.

  • these symptoms may arise from one or combination of the following four broad disease processes: inflammation, neoplastic and structural abnormalities, imbalance in muscle tension, and neuromuscular dysfunction
  • dysphonia associated with otalgia, stridor, neck mass, or dysphagia should be considered related to malignancy until proven otherwise