African Journal of Respiratory Medicine
The Larynx: Guardian of Speech and Gateway to the Airway

Opinion - (2024) Volume 19, Issue 1

Omal Ebu*
*Correspondence: Omal Ebu, Department of Biology, Yale University, USA, Email:

Received: 31-Jan-2024, Manuscript No. ajrm-24-129794; Editor assigned: 02-Feb-2024, Pre QC No. ajrm-24-129794 (PQ); Reviewed: 16-Feb-2024, QC No. ajrm-24-129794; Revised: 21-Feb-2024, Manuscript No. ajrm-24-129794 (R); Published: 28-Feb-2024, DOI: 10.54931/1747-5597.24.19.10

Department of Biology, Yale University, USA


Nestled in the anterior part of the neck, the larynx is a remarkable structure often referred to as the “voice box.” Beyond its role in producing sound for speech and singing, the larynx serves as a crucial anatomical gateway to the respiratory tract, protecting the airway during swallowing and facilitating the passage of air into the lungs. In this article, we explore the anatomy, function, and significance of the larynx in human physiology. The larynx is a complex structure composed of cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and mucous membranes, situated between the base of the tongue and the top of the trachea. Key anatomical components of the larynx include: The largest cartilage of the larynx, the thyroid cartilage forms the prominent “Adam’s apple” in the front of the neck and provides structural support and protection to the laryngeal framework.


Located just below the thyroid cartilage, the cricoid cartilage forms a complete ring around the larynx and serves as an attachment point for various muscles and ligaments involved in laryngeal function. Paired triangular-shaped cartilages situated at the back of the larynx, the arytenoid cartilages play a crucial role in vocal cord movement and sound production. Also known as vocal folds, the vocal cords are paired bands of tissue stretched across the larynx. During speech and singing, the vibration of the vocal cords produces sound, which is modulated by changes in tension and position. The larynx serves multiple important functions, including: The primary function of the larynx is to produce sound for speech and singing. This process, known as phonation, occurs when air passing through the larynx causes the vocal cords to vibrate, generating sound waves that can be modulated by the muscles of the larynx and resonated by the oral and nasal cavities. Beyond its role in sound production, the larynx acts as a protective mechanism for the airway during swallowing. The epiglottis, a flap-like structure located above the larynx, closes over the entrance to the larynx when swallowing to prevent food and liquids from entering the trachea. The larynx also plays a role in regulating airflow during breathing. The opening and closing of the vocal cords, controlled by the muscles of the larynx, help regulate airflow into the lungs and prevent aspiration of foreign particles. Maintaining the health and function of the larynx is crucial for optimal respiratory and vocal function. Common laryngeal disorders include: Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Practice good vocal hygiene, including staying hydrated, avoiding vocal strain, and resting the voice when needed.


Seek prompt medical attention for any changes in voice quality, persistent hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing. Practice good vocal hygiene, including staying hydrated, avoiding vocal strain, and resting the voice when needed. The larynx, or voice box, is a multifunctional structure essential for speech, swallowing, and respiratory function. By understanding the anatomy, function, and significance of the larynx in human physiology, we can appreciate its vital role in communication and airway protection. Nurturing laryngeal health through healthy vocal practices and lifestyle choices is essential for maintaining optimal respiratory and vocal function throughout life.

Select your language of interest to view the total content in your interested language

Latest issues

To read the issue click on a cover