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Can Laryngitis Be Brought On By Stress?

Laryngitis refers to the inflammation of one’s voice box i.e. larynx. Common symptoms of the problem are hoarse type of voice and may even consist of cough, fever, pain at the front of the neck and difficulty in swallowing of water and/or food. Typically, these issues go on in only two weeks.

Categories of Laryngitis

Doctors have categorized Laryngitis problem as acute Laryngitis and chronic Laryngitis depending solely on symptoms and for the period individuals suffer from it. In case of acute problem, the problem lasts for less than the period of 3 weeks, while if a person suffers from chronic type of problem, he/she deals with the symptoms for more than 3 weeks.

Acute type of voice box inflammation takes place because of viral infection in the upper respiratory tract and related infections, like cough, cold and fever, along with trauma. On the other side, chronic inflammation takes place because of allergies, tuberculosis, smoking, rheumatoid arthritis, acid reflux and sarcoidosis, while the underlying mechanism is vocal cord irritation.

What Happens When Laryngitis Infection Occurs?

Laryngitis as per ENT specialists is the prime cause associated with losing one’s voice, as the infection cause swelling or inflammation of the voice box or larynx. We know that voice box helps us to create sounds by forcing air from it and it vibrates our vocal cords, so that we make appropriate sounds understand by other people around us.
Whenever you touch your front part of the throat, you will feel the vibration of larynx while you communicate. However, in case of laryngitis because of any reason, say stress, chords fail to vibrate at the speed, which they do early leading to excessive low voice. In case of severe larynx infection, vocal cords fail to vibrate any more resulting in complete voice loss.

Can Laryngitis Be Brought On By Stress?

Can Laryngitis Be Brought On By Stress?

Vocal tract of a person consists of larynx and pharynx, both of which have complex and rich nerve supply in combination with inputs from ANS i.e. Automatic Nervous System and CNS i.e. Central Nervous System.

In general, stress may cause strain to the voice of a person, as muscular tension in the upper body and neck causes change in the larynx shape a bit and results in constrict of the vocal cords. The condition changes the patients’ voice, because of which it become relatively higher than usual voice often referred as laryngitis. Besides this, ENT specialists have found other key factors associated with stress, which come to play and they are too much emotional, upset, anger and crying or shouting too much cause inflammation of vocal cords and thereby, cause laryngitis.

In some of the cases, when people remain under excessive stress, they deal with an adverse effect i.e. complete inability of making any sound. This problem does not take place in vocal cords; instead, it is a type of psychological effect, which cause complete voice loss of a person even though, his/her larynx does not show any type of physical impairment. This type of laryngitis or voice loss problem has become common among individuals dealing with stressful jobs or suffering huge stress due to economic downturn.

Extreme Stress-Post Traumatic Disorder to Cause Laryngitis

Besides the situations mentioned here, post-traumatic type of stress disorder, categorized as extreme stress causes laryngitis, where individuals suffer complete voice loss or communicate via whispering only. This may take place after a person involved in any serious road accident, suffered loss in any natural disaster or witnessed demise (especially untimely death) of any near or dear ones suddenly in accident.


Stress in daily life, and also post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD can have a major role in causing the problem of laryngitis and related vocal problems in humans.


  1. Mayo Clinic – “Laryngitis” Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/laryngitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20374262 Summary: Mayo Clinic’s page on laryngitis includes details about symptoms, causes, and how stress can impact the condition.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 1, 2023

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