What is Chronic Laryngitis?

Laryngitis may be short-lived (acute) or last for a longer time. Chronic laryngitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the larynx (voice box) which persists for more than three weeks. Laryngitis may have infectious or non-infectious causes. It can affect people of every age and gender but is more common in men of middle age. However, an increasing number of women work in industrial environments and/or smoke tobacco, and so the prevalence of chronic laryngitis is rising among women.[1]

The main symptom of chronic laryngitis is vocal hoarseness, which occurs due to inflammation of the vocal cords in the throat. When the vocal cords are inflamed, this distorts the sounds made in speech, when air passes over them, resulting in hoarseness of voice.

Signs and symptoms of chronic laryngitis

Typical symptoms of long-lasting laryngitis include:

  • Vocal hoarseness
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Swallowing problems

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Causes of chronic laryngitis

Laryngeal symptoms such as cough, sore throat and hoarse voice are frequently caused by prolonged irritation of the larynx and vocal cords. If laryngitis persists for weeks or months, this can result in vocal cord strain and injuries and growths or polyps developing on the vocal cords.

Non-infectious causes of persistent laryngitis can include:

  • Overuse of the voice, which puts a strain on the larynx
  • Overuse of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Bacterial infections
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Postnasal drip
  • Allergies
  • Surgery or injury to the larynx
  • Cancer

Good to know: Bacterial infections rarely cause chronic laryngitis, although MRSA-related chronic laryngitis is becoming more common.[2]

Vocal cord strain

Many people who use their voice for a living, such as teachers, call-center employees, singers and lawyers, risk overusing their vocal cords and developing laryngitis as a result.[3] It is possible for a prolonged vocal strain to lead to nodules and growths on the vocal cords; these may themselves lead to hoarseness or loss of voice.

Alcohol, smoking, air pollution and allergies

Common commercial alcoholic beverages can contain not only ethanol but various other compounds and substances that act as irritants in the throat.

Smoke, air pollution and fumes from tobacco products, burning materials, wildfires, industrial processes, chemicals and engines can also irritate the larynx and lead to laryngitis.[1]

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and chronic laryngitis

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common cause of chronic laryngitis. In this condition, acid from the stomach rises up the esophagus and can cause irritation and a burning sensation in the throat and chest. This acid can cause hoarseness and a painful throat (known as pharyngitis. If you are concerned that you may have GERD that is causing a sore throat or hoarseness, You can search for the nearest doctor Find my doctor.

Bacterial, viral and fungal causes of chronic laryngitis

While viral infections rarely lead to chronic laryngitis, bacterial causes are more common. Bacteria that can lead to chronic laryngitis include:[4]

  • Methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus
  • Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Serratia marcescens

Good to know: Chronic laryngitis caused by MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa need to be confirmed by a doctor’s examination and will require antibiotics to treat.[2]

Some diseases caused by bacterial infections, such as syphilis, may also cause chronic laryngitis.

While fungal infections can cause chronic laryngitis, they are extremely rare in people who have healthy immune systems. People affected by immunosuppressive drugs or who have health conditions that lead to weakened immune systems may, however, be vulnerable to chronic laryngitis as a result of fungal infections.[1]

Autoimmune disorders

Some autoimmune disorders can also increase the risk of developing chronic laryngitis. These include:[1][5]

Diagnosing chronic laryngitis

Because laryngitis is usually acute, meaning that it goes away on its own after around two weeks, it is wise to seek medical attention if symptoms, including hoarseness of the voice due to inflamed vocal cords, sore throat, and/or cough, remain present after this time. The diagnosis of persistent laryngitis is usually made by assessing the symptoms and examining the throat. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have laryngitis, chronic or acute, or another disorder that is causing hoarseness or throat pain, You can search for the nearest doctor Find my doctor.


In some cases, a doctor will examine the throat of someone who may have chronic laryngitis with a small instrument known as a laryngoscope. This is often done if the affected person has trouble breathing or swallowing, or earache.[6] There are three types of laryngoscopy:[6]

  • Indirect laryngoscopy
  • Direct fiber-optic laryngoscopy
  • Direct laryngoscopy

In indirect laryngoscopy, the doctor will use a light and mirror to see the back of the throat and the trachea. This procedure is not painful, although doctors can numb the throat using an anesthetic spray if necessary.

In a direct fiber-optic laryngoscopy, also known as a flexible laryngoscopy, a flexible tube with a lens on the end is threaded up the nose and down the throat. Often a decongestant and a numbing spray are used to minimize discomfort. Indirect and direct fiber-optic laryngoscopies do not take very long, sometimes as little as ten minutes.

However, a direct laryngoscopy, in which the tongue is pushed down and the epiglottis lifted up, can take up to 45 minutes and is usually performed under a general anesthetic. Direct laryngoscopy can be used if the doctor needs to obtain a tissue sample or remove a small growth.[6]

Treatment of chronic laryngitis

Treatment for long-lasting laryngitis depends on the source of the issue. If the laryngitis is caused by gastric reflux, that underlying condition should be treated. If the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotic medications are normally taken.

Aside from addressing the root cause with appropriate medications and/or therapies, treatment for persistent laryngitis mainly involves resting the voice and soothing the throat, to give the larynx and vocal cords a chance to heal. Self-care remedies that may be helpful include:

  • Giving up tobacco products, especially smoking, which can dry out the throat and vocal cords.
  • Choosing non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages, which can dehydrate the body, aggravating laryngeal symptoms.
  • Drinking plenty of water, to thin mucus in the throat, so that it clears easily. This decreases congestion and helps minimise the need to cough.
  • Using natural products that fight infection, like ginger and turmeric extracts. These can be added to hot drinks, can reduce the need to cough and help fight infection.
  • Keeping clean, by using antibacterial handwashes and wipes at regular intervals throughout the day, particularly after coughing. This will also help prevent the transmission of laryngeal infection to others.
  • Avoiding breathing in fumes from smoke or household chemicals, which can cause vocal cord irritation.

Preventing chronic laryngitis

Prevention can be achieved by treatment of a gastric reflux condition, avoidance of smoking and smoke exposure, and moderate use of the voice.

Other names for chronic laryngitis

  • Infectious or allergic chronic laryngitis
  • Reflux laryngitis
  • Chronic inflammation of the larynx

Chronic laryngitis FAQs

u003cstrongu003eCan chronic laryngitis indicate cancer?u003c/strongu003e

Although hoarseness that lasts three weeks or more can be a sign of laryngeal cancer, it u003cstrongu003eis much more likely to be caused by something else.u003c/strongu003e Other potential causes of laryngitis include postnasal drip, allergies, GERD or even thyroid problems. However, if prolonged hoarseness accompanies one or more of the symptoms listed below, the affected person should seek medical assistance:u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4772u0026amp;action=edit#fn7u0022u003e[7]u003c/au003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4772u0026amp;action=edit#fn8u0022u003e[8]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003eu003cbru003e u003cbru003e- A sore throat that does not respond to treatmentu003cbru003e – Constant coughingu003cbru003e – Shortness of breathu003cbru003e – Difficulty or pain when swallowingu003cbru003e – Ear painu003cbru003e – Difficult or noisy breathingu003cbru003e – Feeling of a lump in the throatu003cbru003e – A mass in the necku003cbru003e – Halitosis, or persistent bad breathu003cbru003eu003cbru003eIf you are concerned about cancer or laryngitis in yourself or a loved one, You can search for nearest doctor u003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/doctors/u0022u003eFind my doctoru003c/au003e.

u003cstrongu003eHow can a person affected by chronic laryngitis get their voice back?u003c/strongu003e

Soothing and resting the vocal cords is key for people affected by chronic laryngitis. To do this, affected people should:u003csupu003eu003ca href=u0022https://adoctor.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=4772u0026amp;action=edit#fn3u0022u003e[3]u003c/au003eu003c/supu003eu003cbru003eu003cbru003e- Stay well-hydratedu003cbru003e- Quit smoking and avoid secondhand tobacco smokeu003cbru003e- Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum and preferably cease to drink – alcohol entirely and even avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashesu003cbru003e- Avoid using medication that dries out the mucus membranesu003cbru003e- Use a humidifier in dry weather or dry climatesu003cbru003e- Maintain a healthy diet

u003cstrongu003eHow long does chronic laryngitis last?u003c/strongu003e

The exact duration for which chronic laryngitis lasts depends on the underlying cause and whether it is being treated. However, it is generally agreed that to be categorized as chronic laryngitis, the condition must last for three weeks or more.

u003cstrongu003eIs chronic laryngitis contagious?u003c/strongu003e

Chronic laryngitis itself is not contagious, but some of the underlying bacterial or viral causes may be.

u003cstrongu003eCan vaping cause chronic laryngitis?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, vaping can cause chronic laryngitis, in much the same way that traditional smoking, i.e. using a pipe or cigarettes, do.

  1. Medscape. “Infectious or Allergic Chronic Laryngitis”. 8 June 2017. Accessed 07 October 2018.

  2. Laryngoscope. “MRSA chronic bacterial laryngitis: A growing problem.”. April 2018. Accessed 9 October 2018.

  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “Taking Care of Your Voice.”. 6 March 2017. Accessed 8 October 2018.

  4. Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology. “Factors Associated With Infectious Laryngitis: A Retrospective Review of 15 Cases”. May 2017. Accessed 6 October 2018.

  5. British Medical Journal. “Laryngitis”. 11 October 2014. Accessed 9 October 2018.

  6. WebMD. “What Is Laryngoscopy?”. Accesed 9 October 2018.

  7. Cancer Research UK. “Laryngeal cancer.”. 8 June 2018. Accessed 9 October 2018.

  8. American Cancer Society. “Signs and Symptoms of Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers”. 27 November 2017. Accessed 7 October 2018.

**What is Chronic Laryngitis?**


Chronic laryngitis is a⁢ persistent inflammation⁤ of the larynx, commonly known as the⁣ voice box. ⁣It causes hoarseness, vocal fatigue, and other voice-related problems that last for more⁢ than three weeks.


* **Vocal abuse:** Excessive voice use, such as shouting, ⁢straining, or using incorrect vocal technique

* **Smoking:** Irritates the‍ larynx and damages vocal cords

* **Chronic acid reflux⁢ (GERD):** Stomach acids back up into the larynx, causing inflammation

* **Allergies:** Persistent ​exposure to allergens ⁣irritates the throat

* **Other‌ medical conditions:** Thyroid issues, vocal nodules, or vocal cord paralysis can contribute to laryngitis


* Hoarseness or loss of voice

* Vocal fatigue

* Dry, scratchy throat

* Pain or discomfort ​when talking

* Coughing or clearing of throat

* Sensation of lump in the throat


* Medical history and physical examination

* Laryngoscopy: Visual examination of the larynx using a flexible scope

* Other tests, such as a biopsy or vocal cord analysis, may be necessary for certain cases


* Vocal rest: Avoiding excessive talking or singing

* Voice therapy: Techniques to improve ‌vocal hygiene ⁤and reduce‌ vocal ⁢strain

* Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs or ‍acid-blocking medications for GERD

* Surgical intervention: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to​ remove vocal cord lesions or correct structural abnormalities


* ‌Practice proper vocal hygiene, including​ avoiding vocal abuse, using voice projection ‍techniques, and drinking⁢ plenty of fluids

* Quit smoking

* Manage GERD by limiting acidic foods and beverages

* Get regular ⁢ear, nose, and throat (ENT) check-ups


* Chronic laryngitis

* Hoarseness

* Vocal fatigue

* Larynx

* Vocal cords

* Vocal abuse

* Smoking


* Allergies

* Voice therapy

* Vocal hygiene

* Laryngoscopy


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