Laryngitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the voice box (larynx) that is usually associated with hoarseness or loss of voice. The voice box (larynx) is located at the top of the airway to the lungs (trachea). The larynx contains the vocal cords. When the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they swell. This can cause hoarseness, and may sometimes block the airway.

Because most common laryngitis is caused by a virus, antibiotics may not help. Your health care provider will make this decision. Resting your voice helps by reducing inflammation of the vocal cords. A humidifier may soothe the scratchy feeling that comes with laryngitis. Decongestants and painkillers may relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, if you have one.

Common Symptoms of Laryngitis

  • Fever

  • Hoarseness

  • Swollen lymph nodes or glands in neck

Treatment Options For Laryngitis

A laryngoscopy is an examination of the back of the throat, voice box (larynx), and vocal cords. The procedure can be performed directly or indirectly. A laryngscopy may be suggested by your physician if you suffer from hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or symptoms of laryngitis.

  • An indirect laryngoscopy uses two mirrors and a light source. One mirror is held towards the back of a patient’s throat, while the doctor wears the other mirror. Light is reflected from the doctor’s mirror into the throat so he or she can evaluate any throat conditions that may be present.

  • A direct laryngoscopy involves a fiber-optic scope that can be flexible or rigid. The scope allows the doctor to see deeper into the throat than is possible with an indirect evaluation. Flexible scopes are mostly used in examinations. Rigid scopes are used for surgery, tissue sampling, removing obstructions, and laser procedures, and require general anesthesia.