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Laryngitis Causes & Risks


Common causes of laryngitis, hoarseness, or voice loss are:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection—This is most often caused by a virus, such as the common cold.
  • Irritation caused by voice overuse—Overuse can be caused by yelling, singing, and speaking loudly for extended periods of time.
  • Airborne irritants—Irritants include cigarette smoke and pollen, dust, and mold allergens.
  • Vocal nodules—These are benign lesions (similar to calluses) that are caused by thickening of the epithelial tissue of the vocal cords.
  • Vocal polyps—These are soft, fluid-filled lesions on the vocal cords, which can be caused by one episode of voice abuse. The polyps may become cancerous, particularly in smokers.
  • Infections—Infections may include tuberculous laryngitis and fungal laryngitis.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—GERD is stomach acid that rises up in the esophagus and irritates the vocal folds.

Other less common causes of hoarseness or voice loss include:

  • Functional dysphonia—abnormal use of the vocal mechanisms despite normal anatomy
  • Laryngeal papilloma—growths on the larynx caused by human papilloma viral infection
  • Muscle tension dysphonia—a voice disorder caused by excessive or unequal tension while speaking
  • Reinke's 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
  • Side effects from inhaled medications used for asthma

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.

Risk factors include:

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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