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Infections that Impact the Voice

Any infection causing inflammation or irritation in the throat can impact the voice.  The most common cause of laryngitis is viral infection, which causes swelling in the vocal cords.  Viral infections cannot be improved with antibiotic use.  Other infections that can impact the voice are candidiasis and ulcerative laryngitis.

  • Candidiasis, sometimes referred to as thrush, is a fungal infection characterized by the presence of Candida, a yeast normally present in the body.  It generally occurs when there is some weakness in the immune system, whether that is due to illness, immunosuppressants, or chemotherapeutic agents.  Candidiasis is also more likely to occur in individuals with diabetes or inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Ulcerative laryngitis is a specific form of laryngitis, featuring ulceration of the tissue on the vocal folds.  This can be secondary to viral or bacterial infections, trauma, autoimmune diseases, and/or laryngopharyngeal reflux.  These ulcers are raw sores occurring on the mucous membrane of the vocal folds.  Ulcerative laryngitis generally causes hoarseness, and sometimes includes sore throat, cough, and/or fever.

Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation & Therapy

Our Speech-Language Pathologists, who have specialty training and expertise in voice disorders, assessment and treatment, will complete a personalized assessment of your voice. Assessment may include:

  • A detailed history collection
  • Laryngeal Function Studies consisting of computerized voice analysis and airway measures
  • Behavioral voice and communication analysis
  • Stimulability trials

Prior to the initiation of voice therapy, a laryngeal examination must be completed in order to identify the etiology of your individual voice problem and determine the most appropriate course of treatment. If laryngeal examination determines that your voice changes are the results of infection, treatment will depend on the specific type of infection.  Candidiasis is treated using antifungal agents.  Ulcerative laryngitis secondary to trauma, reflux, or viral infection is treated with a combination of voice rest and pharmaceutical recommendations from you laryngologist.  In most cases, antibiotics are not recommended, as bacterial infection in the voice box is less common than viral.

If you are recommended for voice therapy, your therapy program may include some or all of the following techniques:

  • Strengthen and re-balance laryngeal and pharyngeal musculature, including the muscles, joints and ligaments used in voice production
  • Create a healthy motor pattern and balance pressures to achieve the ideal configuration of your vocal folds for voice use
  • Vocal hygiene recommendations to maximize laryngeal health

Additional Information

CDC: Candidiasis Facts Chronic and Acute Laryngitis