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Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - What it is

Voice disorders are medical conditions that affect the function of the vocal folds (vocal cords) and voice production. Common causes of voice disorders include :

  1. Acute and chronic laryngitis
  2. Growths such as nodules, polyps, cysts or tumours
  3. Vocal fold paralysis
  4. Muscle tension imbalance

Acute and Chronic Laryngitis

Laryngitis refers to inflammation of the vocal folds. This can be acute (less than three weeks) or chronic (more than three weeks).

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Symptoms

  • Hoarse voice
  • Dry, tickly throat
  • requent throat clearing
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - How to prevent?

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Causes and Risk Factors

Causes of voice disorders

Acute laryngitis:

  • Viral infection of the upper airway (usually viruses that cause a cold)
  • Vocal strain e.g. due to yelling and overuse of voice

Chronic laryngitis:

  • Smoking or other inhaled irritants such as chemical fumes and allergens
  • Reflux of acid from the stomach into the larynx (laryngopharyngeal reflux)
  • Inflammation or infection of the sinuses fungal infection.
  • Occupational voice abuse (people who use their voices a lot in their work)

Less common causes of laryngitis:

Bacterial or fungal infection.

Risk factors of voice disorders

  • Respiratory tract infections, such as colds, sinusitis and bronchitis
  • Exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, stomach acid, or chemical fumes
  • Overusing the voice

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Diagnosis

Laryngitis is diagnosed by a combination of history and physical examination. Your specialist may pass a nasoendoscope (a thin scope with a camera at the end of it) through the nose down to the voice box under local anaesthesia.

Common findings include redness and swelling of the vocal folds.

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Treatments

Treatment of laryngitis depends on the underlying cause. Avoiding exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, resting the voice and treating underlying causes such as a cold, sinusitis or acid reflux will be enough in most cases.

Medication may be prescribed to treat acid reflux. Occasionally, steroids may be prescribed to reduce swelling in the larynx if urgent voice restoration is required. Antibiotics are usually not needed as laryngitis is not usually caused by bacterial infection.

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Preparing for surgery

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Post-surgery care

Voice Disorders - Acute and Chronic Laryngitis - Other Information

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Information provided by Singhealth

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