Larynx, disorders of

Laryngeal disorders (those affecting the larynx) usually cause hoarseness as they interfere with the functioning of the vocal cords. In adults, the most common laryngeal disorder is laryngitis. In children, croup is common up to the age of 4. Much rarer is epiglottitis, a life-threatening disorder in young children. Rarely, a baby is born with a soft, limp larynx, a condition called laryngomalacia, which causes noisy breathing during feeding; the larynx usually attains normal firmness by the age of 2. Various kinds of tumour may develop on the vocal cords. The most common is a polyp (a noncancerous swelling caused by smoking, an infection such as influenza, or straining the voice). Warts and small noncancerous growths called singer’s nodes can also occur on the vocal cords. The larynx may also be affected by cancerous tumours (see larynx, cancer of).


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