Medical history to help diagnose laryngitis

Your doctor will want to determine whether your symptoms are related to typical conditions that cause laryngitis: an upper respiratory tract infection (such as a cold), a strained voice, irritants in your environment, or gastroesophageal reflux.

If an upper respiratory infection is suspected, your doctor may ask:

  • Do you have a stuffed or runny nose?
  • Have you had a fever recently?
  • Are you getting over a cold or have you had one recently?

Strained voice:

  • Have you recently attended a concert, game, or other event where you shouted or talked loudly?
  • Do you have a job that requires you to talk a lot?
  • Do you sing as a career or hobby?

Environmental irritants:

  • Do you have any known allergies?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes or are you frequently around someone who smokes?
  • Do you work with chemicals?

Gastroesophageal reflux:

  • Have you recently had heartburn? If so, how often?
  • What time do you usually eat dinner?
  • How much caffeine do you usually drink each day?
  • How often do you drink alcohol?

You will also be asked questions about how long you've had symptoms and if they come back frequently. Because laryngitis usually is a temporary condition, symptoms that have lasted for longer than 2 weeks or that come back often may be related to another problem.

Last Updated: January 20, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

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