Pharynx Air enters into the pharynx through the nose or mouth. It is best to breathe through your nose! From the pharynx two tubes begin: respiratory

Pharynx and larynx


Air enters into the pharynx through the nose or mouth.

It is best to breathe through your nose!

From the pharynx two tubes begin: respiratory — trachea and digestive — esophagus. When a person eats in an uncomfortable position, while talking and laughing, the food can get into the respiratory tract and cause coughing or choking.

The pharyngeal tonsils are located in pharynx. They are similar to the lymph glands and are a protective barrier for the whole body and not only the airway. The tonsils can collect food debris and bacteria. Upon acute inflammation of the tonsils occurs angina (from the Latin: “to compress”, “to choke”), accompanied by pain and a feeling of compression of the throat (especially when swallowing), the formation of ulcers on the tonsils, fever, general malaise. This disease makes severe complications (rheumatic fever, heart disease).

Treating angina is necessary only under a doctor's supervision, performing all of his appointment.

Diagram 70. The pharynx and larynx. Breathing scheme (blue line) and digestive (red line) tracks in the area of the pharynx and their intersection: 1 — the nasal cavity; 2 — soft palate; 3 — hard palate; 4 — lips; 5 — mouth; 6 — tongue; 7 — teeth; 8 — nasopharynx; 9 — oropharynx; 10 — actual pharynx, passing into the larynx; 11 — the epiglottis; 12 — the cavity of the larynx
Diagram 71. Larynx: a) front view; b) rear view: 1 — thyroid cartilage. If its corner stands very forward, then it’s called Adam's apple, that men have
Diagram 72. The position of the vocal cords during the formation of articulate sounds: a) at the time of silence; b) during a speech; c) during a whisper: 1 — the vocal cords; 2 — glottis


Larynx — is part of the breathing tube, preceding the trachea (diagram 70, 71.). It is formed by nine moveable cartilages, the largest of which is the thyroid, easily shifted during talking, coughing, singing, swallowing. Taken from

Two vocal cords are located in the larynx (diagram 72) — elastic fibers, covered with mucous membrane. Between them is placed the glottis. Stress and tension of the vocal cords may be changed due to the reduction or relaxation of muscles that are attached to them. The vocal cords, when the air is passing through them during exhalation, may vary, forming the sounds of different frequencies (from 10-15 to 80 Hz). The higher frequency oscillations, the higher the timbre. The voice pitch is also affected by the length of the vocal cords: they are shorter in women than in men. Voice power depends on the pressure of the exhaled air stream. Smoking and alcohol consumption negatively affect the vocal cords, destroying them. During puberty there is a change of voice (especially in boys). It lasts 1.5-2 years. Voice becomes stable approximately in 20 years old.

Voice must be protected! Therefore, do not smoke, do not drink alcohol, do not shout unnecessarily, swathe neck with scarf in cold weather, and do not breathe in the cold with mouth. If you feel a painful voice changes, or the voice disappeared, immediately contact a doctor!

  • What pharynx and nasopharynx diseases do you know? What is the reason of their appearance?

  • Describe the relationship between the structure and functions of the pharynx.

  • Describe the relationship between the structure and voice function of the larynx.

  • What determines the pitch and strength of the voice?