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Laryngitis: Acute and Chronic

What is acute laryngitis?

Laryngitis means inflammation (swelling) of the vocal fold mucosa (cover). This can cause anywhere from mild to severe dysphonia (hoarseness). In some cases, complete voice loss can occur.

What causes acute laryngitis?

The cause of acute laryngitis is usually associated with an upper respiratory infection/viral infection.

How is acute layrngitis treated?

The most effective treatments for acute laryngitis include hydration (both external and internal), antibiotics if needed, and rest (both vocal and physical). A cough suppressant may be beneficial as well if coughing is experienced, because prolonged, aggressive coughing can cause long-term damage to the vocal fold tissue.

What is chronic laryngitis?

Chronic laryngitis is long standing inflammation to the laryngeal mucosa that is not associated with infection/illness. Voice quality can range from mildly to severely dysphonic.

What causes chronic layrngitis?

The causes of chronic laryngitis can include:

  • repeated episodes of acute laryngitis
  • vocal misuse/overuse/abuse
  • smoking
  • poor hydration/vocal hygiene
  • air pollutants
  • allergies
  • dehydrating medications
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • repeated vomiting

How is chronic layrngitis treated?

Treatment for chronic laryngitis involves identifying and resolving potential factors causing the laryngitis. Medicinal treatment may be warranted and/or voice therapy may be beneficial to identify and resolve specific voicing patterns that cause prolonged hoarseness.