Raspiness in the voice that lingers and lingers. The nagging urge to clear your throat. A cough that won’t stop. These are just a few symptoms of chronic laryngitis — lasting inflammation of the larynx, or “voice box.” With this, you may be asking, “Why won’t my laryngitis go away?”
There are two types of laryngitis: acute and chronic. The acute (shorter) type usually comes from an upper respiratory tract infection, and is typically gone within two weeks. But the chronic type, which lasts for two weeks or more, leaves the voice box and vocal cords irritated for longer…even without other signs of an infection.
Symptoms of chronic laryngitis can include:
A scratchy voice that cracks easily
A lower pitch to the voice
Trouble swallowing, or a feeling of a lump in the throat
Mucus in the throat
A persistent cough
Chronic laryngitis is typically painless, except for the throat discomfort. However, if you suspect you might have the ailment, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor to determine the root cause.
From our own Dr. Robert Pincus: “The American Academy of Otolaryngology (ENT doctors) recommends that you have your vocal cords examined should you have persisting hoarseness or change in voice.”
Why won’t my laryngitis go away? Common causes of chronic laryngitis include:
Smoking or heavy drinking. Exposure to smoke or large amounts of alcohol can leave the larynx irritated, and in turn, the vocal cords hardened.
Vocal-cord abuse. Talking excessively or very loudly can damage the vocal cords and strain the voice. People who rely on their voices for work (teachers, singers, coaches…) sometimes can end up with persistent laryngitis.
GERD. Gastroesophageal reflux disease — a condition in which acid flows back up from the stomach to the esophagus — can aggravate the voice box.
Chemical or dust exposure. At-work exposure to certain irritants can affect the voice’s tone and quality. Government safety standards are set to try keeping exposure in check.
In some cases, other more serious conditions can be to blame for chronic laryngitis. So again, it’s important to be checked out if you suspect any symptoms.
Treatment for the condition depends on the root cause. If you think you might be suffering from chronic laryngitis, see a physician right away for a personalized plan.
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