Understanding How Your Larynx Works

Understanding How Your Larynx Works | Voz Speech Therapy Services Bilingual Speech Therapist Clinic Washington DC

Sometimes referred to as your voice box, your larynx is the part of your body that makes it possible for you to make speech sounds.

It’s also vital for your ability to breathe, and plays a role in protecting your respiratory system.

There are a number of different conditions that can affect your larynx and lead to health complications.

But, we’ll go more into this a little later.

If you’re having trouble speaking and think it might be because of your larynx, contact Voz Speech Therapy in Washington DC.

Our experienced therapists will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to understand what’s causing your symptoms and create a treatment plan to help you communicate clearly once again.

We offer speech therapy for adults, as well as speech therapy for children, so if you suspect your child may be having issues with their speech, contact us today.

We also offer speech teletherapy services to make it more convenient for you to access our speech therapy clinic and access the services you need.

Keep reading to learn more about your larynx and its impact on your speech.

What Is Your Larynx?

Your larynx, which includes your vocal chords, is the main part of what is known as the vibratory system of your voice mechanism.

It’s a hollow tube that connects the back of your throat to your trachea, which is often called your windpipe.

Your larynx is in the middle of your throat between your fourth and sixth cervical vertebrae.

It’s between your esophagus and trachea, which are the two muscular tubes in your throat that lead to your digestive system and respiratory system respectively.

Its place in between these two important systems is the reason that it also acts as a barrier that prevents food or other debris from entering your respiratory system.

Your larynx is about two inches long, and is also responsible for sound creation and breath support.

RELATED: Speech Therapy For Adults With Feeding And Swallowing Disorders

Parts Of Your Larynx

There are four main parts that comprise your larynx.

Each part is important and serves a distinct purpose for your body.

Keep reading to find out more about what each part is called and what it does.


The epiglottis is a flap inside of your throat that covers the front of your larynx behind your tongue, which is another important component of speech.

It usually stays open when relaxed to allow air to pass into your larynx and your lungs.

It closes as you eat and swallow to keep food, liquids, and other debris out of your respiratory system, like your trachea and lungs.

Vestibular Folds

Your vestibular folds, often called your false vocal cords, sit on top of your vocal cords and are made of the vestibular ligament, which is covered by a mucous membrane.

They are fixed folds that protect your true vocal cords and larynx.

Your vestibular folds help protect your larynx by keeping food debris out of your respiratory system during mealtimes.

Vocal Folds

Your vocal folds are your true vocal cords.

They’re responsible for creating sound and speech by opening and closing as air passes through them, like a wind instrument.

This opening and closing is what controls the pitch and volume of the sound you make.

But even your vocal folds have many parts.

They’re comprised of:

  • Non-keratinised stratified squamous epithelium
  • Reinke’s space
  • Vocal ligament
  • Vocal muscle

Thyroid Cartilage

Your thyroid cartilage is the piece of cartilage that sits at the front of your throat.

It’s the most forward part and can protrude from your throat, and is often called your Adam’s apple.

Inside the thyroid cartilage is where you can find your vocal folds, as they attach just below your Adam’s apple.

What Is Your Larynx Made Of?

You can see how complex your larynx is.

The four main parts of the larynx each themselves have many different components.

So you’re right if you guessed that your larynx is made of many different parts.

Let’s break down what each part is and what it does.


Your larynx has cartilage in it.

Cartilage is a strong and flexible tissue that has many different uses for your body.

It can provide padding for bones and joints to help them absorb shock on a day to day basis.

Cartilage also lubricates your joints to reduce friction, and acts as a supporting structure for your body where it connects other tissue and bones.

Your trachea is primarily made up of cartilage, but you can also find it in your nose and ears.


A ligament is another type of connective tissue found throughout your body.

Your ligaments connect the cartilage together in your larynx and help to structurally support your throat.

You can also find ligaments in your joints, like your ankles or knees.


A membrane is a thin sheet of tissue that can do many different things in your body, depending on which membrane we’re talking about.

Sometimes it can cover a part of your body, or it can act as a connective tissue.

In your larynx, membranes wrap on top of your cartilage and hold it together.


You have muscle throughout your body.

It’s what allows you to move your body.

Muscle is made up of soft tissue protein filaments that you can relax or contract to move parts of your body.

The muscles of your larynx are what allows you to speak and create sounds.

These muscles activate the epiglottis and vestibular folds when speaking or swallowing.

What Is Your Larynx? | Voz Speech Therapy Services Bilingual Speech Therapist Clinic Washington DC

How Does Your Larynx Affect Speech?

Now, we talked a lot about the different parts of your larynx and what each part does.

But how does your larynx affect your speech?

Well, its key function is to open and close your glottis, which is the space between your vocal folds.

Opening your glottis separates your vocal folds, which open when you breathe in.

Closing your glottis brings your vocal folds together, which is what happens when you swallow in order to prevent choking and to keep particles out of your respiratory system.

When you cough, you automatically close your glottis, then open it to expel air, which is what coughing is.

Now, opening and closing your glottis also affects your vocal fold tension, which is how you can control your speech and singing.

It’s how your larynx impacts your pitch and volume, depending on how much you allow your vocal folds to vibrate.

Your larynx affects speech by being responsible for creating it.

If you’re having any issues with your speech, speech therapy can help.

RELATED: Speech Therapy For Voice Disorders

RELATED: Speech Therapy For Speech Sound Disorders

What Conditions Can Affect Your Larynx?

There are a number of different conditions that can affect your larynx.

Laryngitis is the inflammation and swelling of your vocal cords, which can cause a hoarse voice.

This can be caused by infections, such as ear infections, irritation, or overuse.

You can also get vocal cord dysfunction, which is a condition where your vocal cords don’t open fully when you inhale.

This can cause difficulty breathing or symptoms of asthma.

Vocal cord lesions are growths that can occur on your vocal cords.

These can sometimes be cancerous, but they can also be benign cysts, nodules, or polyps.

Laryngeal cancer is the result of cancerous cell growth happening within any of the tissues within your larynx.

Vocal fold paralysis is a condition which impacts your ability to control the movement of your vocal cords due to a nerve issue.

For something like this, a speech therapist can conduct an evaluation to try and determine the cause of your nerve issue.

Regardless of what condition is affecting your speech, early intervention speech therapy can help you get ahead of your speech related issues.

Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today

Are you worried that your larynx isn’t working as well as it should?

Your larynx is vital for communication, as well as an important part of your aerodigestive tract.

At Voz Speech Therapy, we’ll conduct a thorough evaluation to understand your symptoms and create a treatment plan designed to help you reach your speech goals.

We work with both children and adults, so if you think your child is having issues communicating, we can help with that too.

Book your appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.

Voz Speech Therapy
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005

(202) 734-4884
- https://g.page/vozspeechtherapy

Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.

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