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- Noncancerous growths on the vocal cords
- Functional dysphonia—abnormal use of the vocal mechanisms despite normal anatomy
- Laryngeal papilloma—growths on the larynx caused by HPV infection
- Muscle tension dysphonia—a voice disorder caused by excessive or unequal tension while speaking
- Reinkes edema—an accumulation of fluid in the vocal cords, usually associated with smoking
- Spasmodic dysphonia—a condition resulting in irregular voice breaks
- Vocal cord paralysis—weakness or immobility of the vocal cords
- Autoimmune and granulomatous conditions
- Upper respiratory tract infection—often caused by a virus, like a cold
- Yelling, singing, and speaking loudly for extended periods of time
- Inhaling airborne irritants—such as cigarette smoke or chemicals
- Allergies to dust, mold, and pollen
- Uncontrolled gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—stomach acid that rises up in the throat
- Using inhaled asthma medications
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Bacterial or fungal infections—much less common
- Hoarseness (raspiness, breathiness, and strain) or loss of voice
- Changes in volume (loudness) or in pitch (how high or low the voice is)
- Sore throat
- Painful swallowing
- Runny nose
- Hoarseness that has no obvious cause or has lasted longer than 2-3 weeks
- Hoarseness with difficulty swallowing or breathing, coughing up blood, a lump in the neck, or throat pain that is more severe than expected with the common cold (emergency medical evaluation is indicated)
- Complete loss of voice or severe change in voice lasting longer than a few days
- Resting your voice
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Avoiding smoking or second hand smoke
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Steam or cold mist inhalation
- Vocal overuse requires resting your voice.
- Cold, flus, or other viral respiratory infections will usually go away on their own. It may take up to two weeks for your voice to completely return.
- Laryngitis caused by seasonal allergies
- Management of acid reflux with medications and lifestyle changes.
- Antibiotics may be needed if the laryngitis is associated with a bacterial or fungal infection.
- Voice education
- Healthy use of the voice
- Instruction in proper voice technique and use of the breathing muscles
- Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Avoid agents that can dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Humidify your home
- Get or maintain GERD treatment
- Try not to use your voice too loudly or for too long
- Seek professional voice training
- Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is injured or hoarse
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.niaid.nih.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Acute laryngitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: hhttp://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 24, 2011. Accessed January 3, 2013.
Common problems that can affect your voice. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/common-problems-can-affect-your-voice. Accessed January 3, 2013.
- Reviewer: David Horn, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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