Laryngitis is swelling of the voice box, including the vocal cords. Vocal cords normally create sounds by opening and closing. Swelling makes movement of the vocal cords difficult which makes you sound hoarse or prevents sounds at all.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Most laryngitis can be diagnosed by your symptoms and history. Your doctor may recommend further tests if you have:
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
You may be referred to a specialist, if your laryngitis does not have an easily identified cause or cure.
Your voice box may be examined with a flexible, lighted scope. Other tests may also be done to evaluate swallowing or other processes related to normal voice.
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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