If you’ve noticed that your voice has sounded weak or raspy while giving a talk at work or placing your lunch order at Wriggles Wraps, you may have laryngitis.
What Is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is an inflammation of your larynx (voice box) that affects your vocal cords and causes changes to your voice.
The condition is often temporary, lasting between three to seven days. However, if your symptoms last for over three weeks, it’s considered chronic laryngitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Laryngitis?
While you may not experience every symptom listed below, common laryngitis symptoms include:
- Weak voice or total loss of voice
- Sore, dry throat
- Pain when talking or swallowing
- Dry cough
Why Do I Have Laryngitis?
Laryngitis can be caused by various factors. Oftentimes, acute laryngitis and chronic laryngitis have different causes:
Causes of Acute Laryngitis
- Viral infections like the cold or flu
- Vocal strain caused by yelling or overusing your voice
- Less commonly bacterial infections
Causes of Chronic Laryngitis
- Acid reflux (GERD)
- Exposure to irritants such as chemicals or allergens
- Chronic sinusitis
- Regularly overusing your voice
- Regular, excessive alcohol use
Other Conditions That Can Affect Your Voice
Other conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to laryngitis, including
- Benign vocal lesions
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Laryngeal cancer
The only way to know for sure what is causing your symptoms is to visit a doctor. They will ask about your symptoms, listen to your voice and examine your vocal cords. In some cases, additional testing may be required.
Can You Prevent Laryngitis?
You can help prevent irritation of your vocal cords by taking the following steps:
- Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit your consumption of alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods
- Avoid regularly clearing your throat
- Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands and avoiding contact with sick people when possible to reduce your risk of respiratory infections
Treating Laryngitis Symptoms
Most cases of acute laryngitis will clear up on their own. Your doctor may recommend resting your voice and using a humidifier, cough drops and drinking lots of fluids to help relieve your symptoms. Other treatment options include:
- Antibiotics if caused by a bacterial infection
- Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
- Vocal therapy with a speech pathologist to teach you ways to put less strain on your voice
- Treating acid reflux and avoiding any foods that cause symptoms
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call South Valley Ear Nose & Throat today.