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Chronic Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal folds resulting from an infection, irritation or overuse. When the vocal folds become inflamed and swollen, they disturb the flow of air through the larynx, or voice box, leading to vocal changes. Hoarseness is the most common symptom of laryngitis. In extreme cases, laryngitis can make speech nearly impossible.

Chronic laryngitis refers to laryngitis that lasts three weeks or longer. Chronic laryngitis usually results from inhaling irritants over a long period of time, such as paint fumes, smoke or allergens. Less common causes include fungal or bacterial infections, or certain parasites.

Temple's otolaryngologists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating any kind of vocal dysfunction, including chronic laryngitis.  The treatment for chronic laryngitis must address its underlying cause. For example, Temple's head and neck surgeon may recommend behavior changes if chronic laryngitis is due to:
  • Smoking
  • Use of alcohol
  • Exposure to irritants (typically work-related)
If chronic laryngitis is due to acid reflux, Temple’s head and neck surgeons may recommend the following lifestyle changes:
  • Avoiding foods that are fatty, spicy or highly acidic
  • Avoid lying down until two hours after eating
  • Elevating the head when lying down to prevent stomach acid from reaching the larynx
Medications to control stomach acid may also be prescribed.