We’ve all heard of laryngitis, but do you really know what it is? If you ask most people, they’ll tell you it’s when you lose your voice from straining it. Although that’s correct, there’s more to this condition that a lot of people don’t know.
First, it’s important that we talk about the basics of this condition. Laryngitis occurs when the larynx is inflamed from overuse, irritation or infection. When the vocal cords become inflamed, the sounds produced by them get distorted, which is why your voice sounds hoarse. Laryngitis can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting). Acute laryngitis will usually only last for a week or so and can be managed with self-care measures like gargling warm salt water, taking throat lozenges, or resting your voice. Chronic laryngitis, however, may sometimes signal a more serious underlying medical issue.
As you just learned, there are two types of laryngitis, which means there are two unique sets of causes. Viral infections, vocal strain, and bacterial infections are the main causes of acute laryngitis. This means you could get laryngitis from the common cold or from yelling and overusing your voice. If your laryngitis lasts longer than three weeks, then it is considered chronic and could be caused by numerous things. Chronic laryngitis can cause injuries to your vocal cords or cause the growth of polyps on the cords. This can be caused by inhaled irritants like chemical fumes, allergens, or smoke; acid reflux or GERD; chronic sinusitis; smoking; or habitual overuse of your voice.
If you experience hoarseness, weak voice/voice loss, or sore/dry throat, then you might have laryngitis. As we discussed before, acute laryngitis can usually be managed through self-care steps. However, if your laryngitis lasts for more than two weeks, then you may want to see a doctor, because it could hint at another issue. At our sister center, Westwood Ear Nose & Throat, can help cure some of the underlying issues associated with chronic laryngitis. Book an appointment with us to find out how our experts can give you permanent relief from conditions like allergies and chronic sinusitis. Look out for our weekly blogs to learn more about CT Sinus Center and the medical issues linked to sinusitis.