Anatomy of the Larynx
The larynx consists of four basic anatomic components: a cartilaginous skeleton, intrinsic and extrinsic muscles, and a mucosal lining The cartilaginous skeleton, which houses the vocal cords, is comprised of the thyroid, cricoid, and arytenoid cartilages (Fig.1). These cartilages are connected to other structures of the head and neck through the extrinsic muscles. The intrinsic muscles of the larynx alter the position, shape and tension of the vocal folds (Fig. 2)
Functions of the Larynx
The larynx functions in deglutition (swallowing), respiration (breathing), and phonation (voice production). The production of voice can be thought of in terms of three components: the production of airflow, the generation and resonance of sound and the articulation of voice. (Fig.2)
Production of Airflow
The lungs first supply adequate airflow to overcome the resistance of the adducted vocal cords. The vocal cords
are finely tuned neuromuscular units that adjust pitch and tone by altering their position and tension.
Sound production occurs due to the vibration of the mucosa at the inner edge of each vocal cord. Thus any structural, inflammatory, or neoplastic lesion of the vocal cord affects voice production and quality (Fig.3).
Articulation of Voice
Final modification of the voice occurs in the mouth, nose and throat, where the tongue, palate, cheek and lips are involved in articulation.(speech production)