Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box, or larynx. Laryngitis is usually caused by a virus, such as a cold, and is temporary, going away within a week or two.
The larynx is located in the throat just above the windpipe (trachea) and is made up of cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. The two vocal cords in the larynx are covered with a mucous membrane. When air passes through the vocal cords, they vibrate and produce sound. When the larynx is inflamed or injured, the voice may be raspy, hoarse, or lower in pitch, or it may be only a whisper. Sometimes a person with laryngitis has no voice at all.