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Pharynx vs. Larynx: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
The pharynx is a muscular tube for both food and air passage, while the larynx, containing the vocal cords, is crucial for voice production and air passage.
Pharynx vs. Larynx

Key Differences

The pharynx is a part of the throat behind the nose and mouth, connecting them to the esophagus. The larynx, located below the pharynx, is often referred to as the voice box and is essential for speech.
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Dec 10, 2023
While the pharynx serves as a pathway for both air and food, directing them to the appropriate channels, the larynx primarily functions in breathing and vocalization, guarding the entrance to the trachea.
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The pharynx plays a role in both the respiratory and digestive systems, acting as a connector. The larynx is equipped with vocal cords and is responsible for sound production, making it vital for communication.
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Dec 10, 2023
In the pharynx, the epiglottis, a flap of tissue, plays a critical role in ensuring food enters the esophagus and not the airways. The larynx’s structure includes cartilage, ligaments, and muscles, which facilitate speech and protect the lower airways.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 10, 2023
Disorders of the pharynx can lead to difficulties in swallowing and sore throat, while larynx disorders can result in voice changes or loss and breathing difficulties.
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Comparison Chart

Location

Behind the nose and mouth
Below the pharynx
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Dec 10, 2023

Function

Passage for air and food
Voice production and air passage
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Dec 10, 2023

Role in Systems

Part of respiratory and digestive systems
Part of the respiratory system
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Structural Feature

Muscular tube
Contains vocal cords and cartilage
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Common Disorders

Sore throat, swallowing difficulties
Voice changes, breathing difficulties
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Pharynx and Larynx Definitions

Pharynx

The pharynx is a muscular tube connecting the mouth and nasal passages with the esophagus.
In swallowing, food passes through the pharynx to the esophagus.
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Larynx

It houses the vocal cords and is involved in breathing, producing sound, and protecting the trachea.
The larynx closes during swallowing to prevent food from entering the windpipe.
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Pharynx

The pharynx is located behind the nose and mouth.
Infections like pharyngitis affect the pharynx, causing throat pain.
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Larynx

It is situated below the pharynx in the upper part of the trachea.
The larynx plays a key role in coughing to expel foreign particles.
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Pharynx

The pharynx is part of both the respiratory and digestive systems.
During breathing, air flows through the pharynx into the lungs.
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Larynx

The larynx, commonly known as the voice box, is located in the neck and is crucial for voice production.
Damage to the larynx can result in loss of voice.
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Pharynx

It acts as a pathway for both air and food.
The pharynx plays a crucial role in directing air to the lungs and food to the stomach.
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Larynx

The larynx is made up of cartilage, ligaments, and muscles.
Laryngitis involves inflammation of the larynx, often leading to hoarseness.
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Pharynx

It serves as a connector to the esophagus and trachea.
The pharynx is essential for the efficient operation of both swallowing and breathing.
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Larynx

Disorders of the larynx can affect breathing and speech.
Vocal cord nodules, a condition of the larynx, can alter voice quality.
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Pharynx

The section of the digestive tract that extends from the mouth and nasal cavities to the larynx, where it becomes continuous with the esophagus.
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Dec 01, 2023

Larynx

The part of the respiratory tract between the pharynx and the trachea, having walls of cartilage and muscle and containing the vocal cords enveloped in folds of mucous membrane.
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Pharynx

(anatomy) The part of the alimentary canal and respiratory tract that extends from the back of the mouth and nasal cavity to the larynx and esophagus.
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Larynx

A hollow muscular organ of the neck of mammals situated just below where the tract of the pharynx splits into the trachea and the oesophagus. It is involved in breath control and protection of the trachea, and, because it houses the vocal cords, sound production.
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Pharynx

(zootomy) The part of the alimentary canal immediately behind the mouth in invertebrates that may be thickened and muscular, eversible and toothed, or adapted as a suctorial organ.
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Larynx

The expanded upper end of the windpipe or trachea, connected with the hyoid bone or cartilage. It contains the vocal cords, which produce the voice by their vibrations, when they are stretched and a current of air passes between them. The larynx is connected with the pharynx by an opening, the glottis, which, in mammals, is protected by a lidlike epiglottis.
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Pharynx

The part of the alimentary canal between the cavity of the mouth and the esophagus. It has one or two external openings through the nose in the higher vertebrates, and lateral branchial openings in fishes and some amphibias.
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Larynx

A cartilaginous structure at the top of the trachea; contains elastic vocal cords that are the source of the vocal tone in speech
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Pharynx

The passage to the stomach and lungs; in the front part of the neck below the chin and above the collarbone
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is the larynx primarily responsible for?

Voice production and air passage.
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Where is the pharynx located?

Behind the nose and mouth.
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What is the primary function of the pharynx?

To serve as a passage for air and food.
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How does the pharynx contribute to digestion?

By directing food from the mouth to the esophagus.
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Is the pharynx part of the respiratory system?

Yes, it's part of both the respiratory and digestive systems.
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Dec 10, 2023

Where is the larynx located?

Below the pharynx, above the trachea.
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Do vocal cords exist in the pharynx?

No, they are located in the larynx.
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What role does the larynx play in swallowing?

It closes to prevent food from entering the trachea.
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Dec 10, 2023

Can disorders of the pharynx affect breathing?

Yes, they can interfere with air passage.
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Dec 10, 2023

What structures make up the pharynx?

It's a muscular tube with connective tissues.
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Is snoring related to the pharynx?

Yes, it can be caused by vibrations in the pharynx.
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How does the larynx assist in breathing?

By controlling airflow to and from the lungs.
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What are common disorders of the larynx?

Laryngitis, vocal cord nodules, and voice loss.
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Dec 10, 2023

Can the pharynx be affected by infections?

Yes, infections like pharyngitis can affect it.
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Can the larynx be surgically repaired?

Yes, in many cases, through procedures like laryngoplasty.
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Dec 10, 2023

Are the pharynx and larynx involved in the gag reflex?

The pharynx is primarily involved in the gag reflex.
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Dec 10, 2023

How does the larynx affect speech?

It produces sound through vocal cord vibrations.
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What structures are part of the larynx?

Cartilage, vocal cords, and muscles.
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Does smoking affect the pharynx?

Yes, it can cause irritation and inflammation.
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Dec 10, 2023

Does smoking impact the larynx?

Yes, it increases the risk of laryngeal cancer.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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