Inflammation of the larynx (voice box) that can be chronic, persisting for a long time, or acute, lasting only a few days.
Chronic laryngitis can be caused by overusing the voice; irritation from tobacco fumes and smoke; violent coughing; or damage during surgery. Alcohol, especially spirits, can intensify laryngitis.
Hoarseness is the most widespread symptom and can worsen to loss of voice. Throat discomfort and pain and a dry, irritating cough can also arise. Laryngitis caused by a viral infection is usual accompanied by a general feeling of illness and fever.
Treatment relies on the cause. Acute laryngitis caused by a viral infection often goes away by itself. There is not a treatment for chronic laryngitis apart from resting the voice, taking mild painkillers if necessary, using steam inhalation and avoiding alcohol and tobacco smoke. If hoarseness perseveres for over two weeks, medical advice should be sought after in order to eliminate the chance of laryngeal cancer. In certain cases, chronic laryngitis responds positively to speech therapy.