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.

What is it?

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).

Did you find this information useful?

Dr Mary Harding
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
4404 (v41)
Last Checked:
04 June 2015
Next Review:
03 June 2018
The Information Standard - certified member

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.