The term laryngitis refers to inflammation of the larynx or voice box, which is usually caused by an infection.
This condition usually resolves independently after about a week, without requiring any treatment.
The main symptoms of laryngitis include:
- Hoarse voice
- Loss of voice
- Sore throat
- Persistent urge to clear the throat
In most cases, laryngitis is caused by infection with a virus, which often happens in cases of the common cold. Straining of the voice can also cause the condition. Laryngitis caused by these factors is referred to as acute laryngitis and symptoms usually resolve within a week.
Sometimes, the condition is caused by other factors such as smoking, allergy or alcohol abuse, in which case symptoms may last longer and the conditon is referred to as chronic laryngitis.
In most cases, simply resting the voice, refraining from smoking or sitting in smoky environments and staying well rehydrated is sufficient for the condition to pass within a week. If the symptoms are caused by a condition other than infection or voice straining, it may be necessary to treat the underlying cause. Cases caused by allergy, for example, may be treated with medication to help mediate the body’s response to a certain substance.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc