The larynx is a triangular structure made primarily of cartilage, muscles, and ligaments. It is located between the pharynx and the trachea.
Functions of the larynx:
- acts as a passageway for air during breathing;
- produces sound during speech;
- prevents food and other foreign substances from entering the breathing structures.
Structures of the larynx:
- The thyroid cartilage is the largest portion of the larynx, consisting of a tough hyaline cartilage protruding in the front of the neck. This structure is larger in men and is often referred to as the Adam’s apple.
- The epiglottis is another portion of the larynx, located at the top. It is composed of elastic cartilage and extends from the larynx toward the tongue. It acts as a flap to keep food and liquid from entering the larynx.
- The vocal cords are contained within the larynx. They consist of folds of tissue made up of muscle and elastic ligaments covered by a mucous membrane and stretch across the upper part of the larynx. The glottisis the space between the vocal cords. There are two types of vocal cords:
- False vocal cords do not produce sound. Instead, these muscle fibers help to close the airway during swallowing.
- True vocal cords produce sound when air, flowing from the lungs, causes them to vibrate.