The most common sign of laryngitis is hoarseness. Changes in your voice can vary with the degree of infection or irritation, ranging from mild hoarseness to almost total loss of your voice. If you have chronic hoarseness, your doctor may review your medical history and symptoms. He or she may want to listen to your voice and examine your vocal cords, and he or she may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
These techniques sometimes are used to help diagnose laryngitis:
- Laryngoscopy. In a procedure called laryngoscopy, your doctor can visually examine your vocal cords by using a light and a tiny mirror to look into the back of your throat. Or your doctor may use fiber-optic laryngoscopy. This involves inserting a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) with a tiny camera and light through your nose or mouth and into the back of your throat. Then your doctor can watch the motion of your vocal cords as you speak.
- Biopsy. If your doctor sees a suspicious area, he or she may do a biopsy — taking a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope.