Hoarse Voice? Here's What You Need to Know About Laryngitis
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal cords that causes hoarseness or loss of voice. Laryngitis is a less common but equally unpleasant condition that falls under the category of laryngeal diseases. According to WebMD, laryngitis is usually not a major problem. It will disappear within three weeks if proper medication is used. However, it sometimes continues for a long time and can become chronic.
What is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis affects people who use their vocal cords extensively, such as singers, actors, and public speakers. While laryngitis usually refers to inflammation of the entire larynx, laryngitis is more focal, targeting specific layers of the vocal cords.
This condition can result from overuse, misuse, or abuse of the voice, often with insufficient vocal rest. These signs and symptoms often indicate inflammation of the voice box and underlying airways. Most episodes of laryngitis are transient, and patients recover after the underlying cause is resolved. Dr. According to MN Shankar, Senior Consultant, ENT/Otorhinolaryngology, Fortis Malar Hospital, the primary causes of both acute and chronic laryngitis are as follows:
- Viral infection of the vocal cords
- Infections caused by bacteria
- Gastric problems
- Chemical fumes or smoke inhalation
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Chronic sinusitis
What are the different causes of laryngitis?
Overuse of the vocal cords
Laryngitis is often associated with excessive use of the voice without proper breaks or rest periods. People engaged in occupations that require prolonged speaking or singing are more prone to this condition.
Improper vocal technique
Poor singing or speaking techniques can strain the vocal cords, leading to laryngitis. Improper breathing, incorrect pitch and excessive strain on the throat can contribute to the development of this condition.
Other environmental factors
Stimulants such as smoking, pollution, or dry air can irritate and inflame the vocal cords, increasing the risk of laryngitis.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
GERD, a condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, can also affect the vocal cords. Acid reflux can cause inflammation and irritation, leading to laryngitis.
Symptoms of laryngitis
Hoarseness or a rough, high-pitched voice is a characteristic feature of laryngitis. Inflammation of the vocal cords affects their ability to vibrate smoothly, resulting in changes in voice quality.
People with laryngitis often experience an uncomfortable or scratchy feeling in the throat. This is due to irritation and inflammation of the vocal cords.
In some cases, laryngitis can cause difficulty swallowing or a sensation of a lump in the throat, known as a globus sensation.
Fatigue and weakness
Prolonged stress on the vocal cords can cause fatigue and weakness in the voice, making it challenging to sustain normal speech or singing.
Treatment options are available
One of the primary treatments for laryngitis is vocal relaxation. Resting the vocal cords allows them to heal and reduces further inflammation.
Drinking water is important for maintaining vocal cord health. Drinking plenty of water helps keep the vocal cords lubricated and reduces inflammation.
In some cases, speech therapy may be recommended to address improper vocal techniques and habits that contribute to laryngitis.
If laryngitis is associated with GERD, medication to reduce stomach acid may be prescribed to relieve symptoms and prevent further irritation of the vocal cords.