Although symptoms of
laryngitis usually go away within a few days, they may
take as long as 2 weeks to clear up completely. Talk to or visit your doctor if
symptoms come on suddenly with no apparent cause and do not improve within a
few days. If you have severe pain or problems swallowing, or you are coughing
up blood, see your doctor right away.
laryngitis, your doctor will ask about your recent
medical history and conduct a physical exam. He or she
will feel your neck for sensitive areas or lumps and look at your nose, mouth,
and throat for inflammation. This helps him or her determine whether your
symptoms are related to laryngitis or to
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You may be referred to an
ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist)
Your symptoms have not improved or gone away
after 2 weeks.
You have sudden symptoms that cause severe pain
(especially pain radiating up into your ear), difficulty swallowing, or you are
coughing up blood.
Another condition is suspected from your medical
history and physical exam.
Your doctor thinks that the cause of
your laryngitis may become chronic and lead to another condition. For example,
if you are a professional singer who sometimes gets laryngitis, a specialist
may help you improve your singing technique to prevent you from developing
nodules or polyps on your larynx.
If the specialist determines that your voice problems are
more serious than larynx inflammation or laryngitis, you may have more tests,
laryngoscopy. For this test, the doctor looks at the back of your throat, voice box (larynx), and vocal cords with a scope (laryngoscope). During this test, the doctor may also collect a
sample of larynx tissue for a
biopsy. The tissue is examined to rule out cancer or
another serious problem. Cancer is of special concern if you smoke and have
lumps around your larynx.
A video laryngostroboscopy. This test
allows the doctor to view the rapid vibration of your vocal cords using a
lighted instrument, a fiber-optic telescope.
Other tests will depend on the nature of the suspected