Hoarseness, laryngitis and dysphonia
In the treatment of laryngitis the most important advice to the patient is voice rest, to avoid coughing, clearing one's throat and whispering. Voice rest does not necessitate total avoidance of talking, only significant restriction. Antibiotics are not indicated. It is important to keep the mucosa of the vocal cords moist (inhalation of a humidifying aerosol; steam inhalation). Patients in professions with heavy vocal loading should have a sufficiently long sick leave, at least one week, in acute hoarseness. Voice amplifier reduces vocal loading and is thus an efficient aid in the treatment of voice disorders. Indirect laryngoscopy must always be performed if the hoarseness is not associated with a respiratory infection, and in all patients with hoarseness lasting for more than two weeks. If the vocal cords cannot be fully visualized at indirect laryngoscopy the patient should be referred to a phoniatrician or an ENT specialist. Hoarseness in children is an indication for consultation by a phoniatrician or an ENT specialist (indirect laryngoscopy is difficult to perform).