Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx. It causes hoarse voice or the complete loss of the voice because of irritation to the vocal folds (vocal cords). Dysphonia is the medical term for a vocal disorder, of which laryngitis is one cause. Laryngitis is categorized as acute if it lasts less than a few days. Otherwise it is categorized as chronic, and may last over 3 weeks. The chronic form occurs mostly in middle age and is much more common in men than women. In most instances, the symptoms accompanying laryngitis are more directly linked to the causative factor, such as a viral infection, like the common cold. In cases caused by overuse of the voice, symptoms other than vocal impairment may be absent. Laryngitis, hoarseness or breathiness that lasts for more than two weeks may signal a voice disorder and should be followed up with a voice pathologist. This is typically a vocology certified SLP (speech language pathologist) or a laryngologist (voice specialized ENT).
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