September 4, 2015

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Laryngitis

What is laryngitis?

The larynx is the voice box that allows us to speak, shout, whisper, and sing. The larynx consists of a cartilage skeleton that houses the vocal cords that are covered by a mucus lining. Muscles inside the larynx adjust the position, shape, and tension of the vocal cords, allowing us to make different sounds from whispering to singing. Any change in the air flow (which is generated by the lungs exhaling air) across the vocal cords will affect the voice and the quality of the sound.

The larynx is located at the junction of the mouth and trachea and has a flap-like covering called the epiglottis, whose job it is to prevent food and saliva from entering the larynx during swallowing.

Laryngitis (larynx + itis = inflammation) is an inflammation of the voice box, causing a person to lose their voice. The quality of the voice becomes hoarse or gravelly-sounding and sometimes too quiet or soft to hear. Because there is inflammation, throat pain is often an associated symptom. Continue Reading

Picture of the larynx and trachea
Picture of the larynx and trachea

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Reviewed on 5/1/2015