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inflammation of the mucous membrane of the voice box, or larynxlarynx
, organ of voice in mammals. Commonly known as the voice box, the larynx is a tubular chamber about 2 in. (5 cm) high, consisting of walls of cartilage bound by ligaments and membranes, and moved by muscles. The human larynx extends from the trachea, or windpipe.
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, usually accompanied by hoarseness, sore throat, and coughing. Acute laryngitis is often a secondary bacterial infection triggered by infecting agents causing such illnesses as colds, measles, whooping cough, or influenza. It may also result from straining the voice, drinking hot liquids, or exposure to irritating gases. In chronic laryngitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larynx persists. When such a condition continues for long periods, the membrane becomes irreversibly thickened and the voice permanently changed. Laryngitis resulting from weakened laryngeal muscles is common in singers, teachers, and others who use the voice professionally.



inflammation of the laryngeal mucosa.

Acute and chronic laryngitis are distinguished. Acute laryngitis is most often caused by infection and arises, for example, with influenza and acute respiratory diseases. It may also be a symptom of infectious diseases, such as measles and scarlet fever, and is fostered by overchilling (general or local), inhaling gases, and diet deficiencies. It is manifested by a sensation of dryness and tickling in the throat, followed by a dry cough. Disturbance of voice production (dysphonia) and incomplete closure of the true vocal cords set in. The process may be transferred to the mucosa of the nose and pharynx or to the trachea and bronchi.

Chronic laryngitis is a result of repeated acute laryngitis and of frequent and prolonged improper use of the vocal apparatus. Predisposing factors include smoking and the use of alcohol. The principal symptom of chronic laryngitis is a disturbance of voice production, expressed to varying degrees, including complete loss of the voice (aphonia). A dry cough is also present.

Acute laryngitis should be treated by a “vocal regime,” that is, by complete rest of the larynx for five to seven days (by silence or speaking in a whisper), a sparing diet, and exclusion from the diet of substances irritating to the mucosa and of all excessively cold or hot foods. Warm drinks, neck warmth provided by a bandage or compress, and inhalation are recommended. Medication is used according to the physician’s prescription. Chronic laryngitis is treated by eliminating the factors fostering its development (in particular, improper use of the voice, smoking, and alcohol).


Rutenburg, D. M. “Vospalitel’nye zabolevaniia gortani i trakhei.” In Khirurgicheskie bolezni glotki, gortani, trakhei, bronkhov i pishchevoda. Moscow, 1954.
Bolezni ukha, gorla i nosa, 2nd ed. Edited by D. A. Pigulevskii. Leningrad, 1969.



Inflammation of the larynx.


inflammation of the larynx
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