Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"If I lost my voice does it mean that I have laryngitis?"


If I lost my voice, it means I have laryngitis right? What else would make it happen (losing my voice)?


Laryngitis is the most common cause of hoarseness and voice loss. Acute laryngitis that starts suddenly is caused by a viral infection in most cases that leads to swelling of the vocal cords. When the vocal cords swell, they vibrate differently, leading to hoarseness or voice loss.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Primary care-doctors near you

On the other hand, chronic laryngitis can be caused by acid reflux disease, by chronic exposure to irritating substances such as smoke, and by low grade infections. That being said, there are a variety of medical conditions that can lead to voice problems. Stomach acid irritation of the throat as a result of a laryngopharyngeal reflux disease can cause chronic or intermittent hoarseness, swallowing problems, a lump in the throat sensation, or throat pain. Another cause is voice misuse and overuse that puts you at risk for developing benign vocal cord lesions or a vocal cord hemorrhage. Benign vocal cord lesions are non-cancerous growths on the vocal cords that cause them trauma and alter vocal cord vibration leading to hoarseness. If you experience sudden loss of voice following yelling or shouting, you may have developed a vocal cord hemorrhage as a result of one of the blood vessels on the surface of the vocal cord rupturing. This is considered a vocal emergency and you need to see your otolaryngologist as soon as possible. Hoarseness and other vocal problems can also occur as a result of vocal cord paralysis and paresis to cause problems between the nerves and muscles within the larynx (voice box). Chronic hoarseness warrants an immediate evaluation by an otolaryngologist to rule out laryngeal (throat) cancer, which is very serious but highly curable if diagnosed in its early stages. I would suggest that you visit a primary care physician or otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) soon to find out the exact cause of your voice loss.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.