Answers to Common Ear, Nose, and Throat Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about ear, nose, and throat health.

Should laryngitis ever be a cause for concern?

Dr. Laura Tully discusses whether laryngitis should ever be a cause for concern. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Should laryngitis ever be a cause for concern? 

There are certain instances when losing your voice or going hoarse is a cause for concern. The one we already spoke about is if you use your voice suddenly and forcefully and go very hoarse, that would be concern for a vocal cord hemorrhage and should be evaluated right away. That is typically not associated with pain. The other reasons for concern, there are malignant or cancerous processes that can happen to the voice box, especially in patients with a smoking history. Anyone who has associated trouble swallowing, unintentional weight loss, that sort of thing, needs to be evaluated sooner rather than later. Any smoker who has hoarseness that's lasting more than two to three weeks should be evaluated.


If you have laryngitis and you start to have some other symptoms, it could be cause for concern.

In some rare cases, laryngitis can cause difficulty breathing and lead to severe respiratory distress, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesOff Site Icon (HHS). If you have difficulty breathing, get medical help right away.

If you lost your voice suddenly because of force, there’s a possibility of a vocal cord hemorrhage, Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians say. This would also be a reason to talk to your doctor right away.

Hoarseness and loss of voice can also be a sign of cancer, especially for smokers who have voice issues for more than two to three weeks. If laryngitis continues and doesn’t go away on its own, it’s time to visit your doctor to investigate the problem.

For more information about whether laryngitis is ever a cause for concern, talk with your doctor.

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Source: Stewart Adam, MD, Premier ENT Associates; Jeffrey Adam, MD, Premier ENT Associates; Laura Tully, MD, Premier ENT Associates