Laryngitis is an inflammatory condition of the larynx triggered by overuse of the voice, certain irritants, and infection. In laryngitis, vocal cords get swollen and the sound waves get deviated over them, disturbing generation of voice. It causes hoarseness, tickling, and dryness in the throat. Laryngitis is of two types, acute or chronic. Acute laryngitis settles down in less than three weeks, whereas chronic type may remain longer than three weeks. Recurrent laryngitis or chronic laryngitis can induce loss of ability of vibration of vocal cords leading gradual loss of voice.
Can You Permanently Lose Your Voice From Laryngitis?
The inflammation of the larynx (voice box) is called laryngitis. In laryngitis, the vocal cords get swollen and inflamed. Swelling of the vocal cord distorts the waves of sound by deviation of air over them leading to hoarseness in the voice. Larynx gets swollen due to various reasons such as overuse of larynx while speaking loud, yelling or singing especially in professional singers, speakers, etc., viral or bacterial infections or irritation in the throat triggered by smoking, excess alcohol or caffeine consumption, or environmental allergies.
The Symptoms Of Laryngitis Are As Follows–
- Weakness in the voice
- A sore throat
- Dryness in the throat
- Dry cough
- Tickling in the throat
- Loss of voice
- Low-grade fever
- Inability to drink fluids
Laryngitis can be acute or chronic according to onset and duration of the symptoms. Acute laryngitis settles down in less than three weeks whereas chronic laryngitis remains for more than three weeks.
Acute Laryngitis Can Be Caused As Follows–
- Overstraining the voice like yelling, speaking or singing loudly
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infection that causes cold
Chronic laryngitis can last more than three weeks even for months. It is a constant inflammatory condition that results in changes in the voice and hoarseness. However, this condition can be painless with no sign of any infection. It leads to excessive strain on the vocal cords and damage to the vocal cords resulting in polyps or nodules in the larynx. This damage can be permanent and one can lose his voice permanently.
The Causes Of Chronic Laryngitis Can Be–
- Irritants that are inhaled for example chemical fumes, smoke or allergens
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, Acid reflux)
- Chronic sinus infections (sinusitis)
- Excess intake of alcohol
- Constant overuse of voice like singers, speakers, cheerleaders
- Excessive coughing
- Constant use of steroid medicines like asthma inhalers
- Paralysis of vocal cords due to an injury, stroke, lung tumor, etc
- Old age
- Bacterial or viral infections
Chronic laryngitis by overuse of voice gets treated easily if the patient provides proper rest to the voice and takes plenty of fluid and nutritious diet. Damage to the vocal cords recovers fast. But those who continuously overuse their voice such as professional singers or speakers or teachers develop nodules or polyps in their larynx.
Laryngitis caused by acid reflux or allergy can be treated easily by appropriate treatment and removal of the underlying cause.
Chain smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers’ even secondhand smokers also develop chronic laryngitis. Their recovery is impossible if they do not leave smoking or drinking alcohol. Their habit may lead to constant hoarseness in the voice that may result in permanent damage to the vocal cords.
Chronic laryngitis caused by tumor, nodules or cancerous growth on the vocal cord has a bad prognosis. It can permanently damage the vocal cords and result in hoarseness and can even lead to complete loss of voice.
Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx characterized by the swelling of the vocal cords. Acute laryngitis settles down easily in a span of one to two days. Chronic laryngitis can lead to permanent damage to the larynx if it is caused by habitual overuse of voice, smoking, alcoholism or cancer leading to loss of voice.
- Mayo Clinic. “Laryngitis.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/laryngitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20374262
- Medical News Today. “How to treat chronic laryngitis.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325171