Authored by Dr Mary Harding, 04 Jun 2015

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Prof Cathy Jackson, 04 Jun 2015

Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx), which causes you to have a hoarse voice. It is most commonly due to an infection, usually a virus.

How often have you heard somebody squeak "I've lost my voice"? That's laryngitis. Your larynx is your "voice box". It isn't really a box, of course. It's made of a couple of bands of muscles which stretch across the top of your windpipe (trachea). The movements and vibrations of those muscles, called the vocal cords, make you talk. If your voice box gets swollen or inflamed, you can't talk properly anymore and your voice comes out as a croak. Or a squeak. Or a whisper.

Most often, a bug such as a virus causes laryngitis. You can also get it from doing a lot of shouting (if you went to a concert, or were cheering on your team at a sports event for example).

Further reading and references

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