Laryngitis is a term used by doctors to describe inflammation of the vocal folds from any cause. Most often resulting from irritation of the voice from common things including allergy, acid reflux, smoking, inhaled medicines, or voice misuse. If hoarseness doesn’t resolve with other symptoms the voice needs to be evaluated. Hoarseness is the term for the symptom of a change in the voice. Laryngitis is the term for the diagnosis and is the result of visualizing the voice box. Since these are not the same, hoarseness that persists needs evaluation.

Laryngitis is similar to other types of inflammation or irritation occurring elsewhere in the body. The vocal folds usually appear irritated and red and swollen (edema). Laryngitis is often treated by trying to make the environment in the larynx ideal for healing. This often includes treating infection, restoring hydration, and lubricating the vocal folds.