Before learning about pharynx and larynx, it is essential to learn what is pharynx and larynx. These are two organs situated in the neck area of a human body. The former is a part of the alimentary canal, while the latter is a portion of the trachea.
Pharynx is located posterior to the oral and nasal cavities, forming part of the digestive and respiratory system. It acts as a common channel for swallowing and respiration.
Pharynx is divided into three regions – Nasopharynx, Oropharynx and Laryngopharynx.
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It is the posterior part of the nasal cavity. When nasopharyngeal tonsils are enlarged, those are called adenoids which cause a restriction in respiration.
Oropharynx merges with epiglottis. The tonsil is lodged between the two arches of oropharynx.
Laryngopharynx extends from the epiglottis and merges with the oesophagus.
There are four layers of muscles in pharynx. These are the following, starting from inside –
A mucous membrane
A fibrous coat
A muscular coat
A fascial coat
What is the Function of the Pharynx?
Regulating the passage of food to oesophagus as well as air to lungs
Performs both respiratory and digestive functions
As opposed to pharynx, larynx is an organ connecting the lower part of pharynx with trachea. It not only acts as a valve to the passage of air but also helps in vocalisation and swallowing.
Larynx is divided into three parts – supraglottis, glottis and subglottis.
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It lies above the vocal cord containing the epiglottis cartilage.
It pertains to the area of the vocal cord.
It is the area beneath the vocal cord that contains the cricoid cartilage.
There are extrinsic muscles that elevate and depress the larynx. These are –
What is the Function of the Larynx?
Performs protective function by lowering the airways
Facilitates respiratory function with air passage
Conducts phonatory functions with the help of vocal cords
Do You Know?
The vestibular folds in the larynx are also known as false vocal cords, as those have no role to play in sound production. It is the lower folds that are the true vocal cords. These folds have more mass in men than women, which explains the heaviness voice in the former. However, this change is apparent only after puberty.
Find out about the difference between pharynx and larynx below.
In spite of differences between pharynx and larynx, there are similarities as well. Those are –
Pharynx and larynx are both located inside the throat.
Performs a common function of swallowing.
Both pharynx and larynx are instrumental in passing air for breathing.
i. The uppermost part of the pharynx is known as -
ii. Which among the following does not qualify as vocal characteristics that leads to the uniqueness of our voice?
(c) phonatory quality
[To check your answer, see the solution mentioned at the end of the article]
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1. What is Pharynx?
Ans. Within the pharynx larynx trachea, pharynx is a tubular muscular passage between the nasal cavity and mouth.
2. Mention the Role of Larynx.
Ans. Even though pharynx and larynx anatomy is largely similar, the latter plays a distinct role. It is a passage for air and contains vocal cords acting as the "voice box".
3. Indicate the Major Difference Between Pharynx and Larynx.
Ans. Pharynx and larynx difference is that the former is a region, but larynx is an organ. Pharynx is part of both the digestive and respiratory system and lacks vocal cord. On the contrary, larynx is part of only the respiratory system, and it is where the vocal cord can be found.
i. (a) Nasopharynx
ii. (d) articulation