Researchers and physicians generally attribute laryngitis -- symptoms include hoarseness of the voice, cough and chronic clearing of the throat -- to a viral infection and overuse of the voice. Other factors, including consistent exposure to second-hand smoke, have also been cited as a trigger.
However, researchers have now found through animal models that exposure to different environmental pollutants, including dust mites and everyday air pollution, can cause what they term as "environmental laryngitis."
The findings are significant, given recent reports on diminishing air quality and increased unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution, especially in countries like China, which could lead to more cases of laryngitis and chronic laryngitis, Dr. Peter C. Belafsky, of the University of California at Davis said.
The findings were presented at the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery Foundation annual meeting & OTO EXPO in Chicago.