How is Laryngitis Diagnosed?


Acute laryngitis may be diagnosed at a visit with a primary care provider. The doctor will ask you about your laryngitis symptoms, listen to your voice, and perform a physical exam. If your symptoms have lasted more than a few weeks and are not getting better, your doctor may refer you for other tests, such as:

  • Laryngoscopy – A doctor uses a scope inserted through your mouth and throat to look at your larynx. The vocal cords may appear swollen and bloodshot.
  • Biopsy - Your doctor may take a sample of abnormal tissue for examination if larynx cancer is suspected.

How can a primary doctor help?

A primary care doctor can assess your laryngitis symptoms and recommend a first course of care. If you need more tests, the doctor may refer you to a specialist—such as an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) — for those procedures.

How is Laryngitis Treated?


A virus often causes laryngitis, so antibiotics won’t help. Most cases go away independently, but sometimes laryngitis treatment is required.


There are steps you can take on your own to recover from laryngitis and relieve your symptoms:

  • Rest your voice as much as possible
  • Breathe moist air from a humidifier
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids 
  • Suck on throat lozenges to keep your throat moist


If your laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, such as bronchitis, an antibiotic may be prescribed to treat the infection, leading to relief of your cough and other symptoms. An antibiotic is not useful for treating viral infections such as colds and the flu. Steroid medications may be prescribed for people with moderate to severe vocal cord inflammation, such as a toddler with croup.



Acute laryngitis typically lasts two to three weeks. Chronic laryngitis lasts longer than three weeks.

Laryngitis can feel like a sore or dry throat. You may have a hoarse voice or no voice at all.

Looking through a laryngoscope, the vocal cords of someone with laryngitis may appear swollen and bloodshot.

Laryngitis itself is not contagious. But if you have a cold or other infection causing it, that illness may be contagious.

Laryngitis does not spread between people, but an infection causing it may spread.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Laryngitis Treatment

If you or your child has symptoms of laryngitis that are persisting or getting worse, contact NewYork-Presbyterian for an in-person visit to one of our campuses or medical groups or to schedule a virtual urgent care appointment. 

We offer convenient hours and scheduling, connection with our providers through a patient portal, and referrals to specialists. We also take most insurance plans.