The musculus thyroarytaenoideus belongs to the skeletal muscles of humans. It is assigned to the laryngeal musculature. It closes the glottis.

What is the thyroarytaenoid muscle?

The larynx has an important function in speech formation. This process is called phonation. In order for it to take place, several components in the organism are matched. The thyroarytaenoid muscle is a part of this complex.

He makes sure that the glottis narrows. It has a slit-like shape and is located between the vocal folds. To make the sound, the glottis must be closed. If this happens, the vocal cords relax. All this can only happen because the larynx is surrounded by different cartilages. These are softer than bones and thus they can be moved by the contraction of the individual laryngeal muscles. As soon as the thyroarytaenoideus muscle contracts, cartilage formations approach each other.

Anatomy & Construction

The larynx is supplied by various muscles. The muscle system of the larynx can be differentiated into the internal and external muscles. The thyroarytaenoid muscle is one of the inner laryngeal muscles. It is innervated by the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

The larynx, which is referred to in medicine as a larynx, can be divided into three levels. Perpendicular to each other are the supraglottis, which is also referred to as vestibule laryngis. In the middle is the glottis or Cavitas laryngis intermedia. In the lower sector is the subglottis or Cavitas infraglottica. All levels are surrounded by a cartilaginous framework. The Cartilago cricoida, the Cartilago thyroidea, the Cartilago epiglottica and the Cartilagines arytaenideae completely surround the larynx.

In the inner surface of the Cartilago thyroidea is the origin of the thyroarytaenoideus muscle. Opposite him is the vocalis muscle. The path of the thyroarytaenoid muscle begins at the upper edge of the arch of the cartilago cricoidea. It runs obliquely to the muscular process of the Cartilago arytaenoidea. The Cartilago cricoida is called cricoid cartilage. The Cartilago arytaenideae is the arytenoid cartilage.

Function & Tasks

The voice is formed in the larynx. This is surrounded by different cartilages and is activated by several muscles. Among them is the muscular thyroarytaenoideus. It supports the lateral cricoarytaenoideus muscle at its activity to ensure the glottis closure. This is necessary to give the vocal cords the ability to move freely and create sounds.

The larynx has a vertical shape and is bordered by several cartilages. They are referred to as cartilaginous scaffolding. In descending order are thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, arytenoid cartilage and epiglottis cartilage. The phonation arises in the area of ​​the arytenoid cartilage, which is called Cartilago arytaenoidea. The lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle makes an inward turn of the arytenoid cartilage. In this process, he gets support from the muscular thyroarytaenoideus. Together, they help contract the cartilage. As a result, the glottis closes.

At the same time this process creates the possibility that the vocal folds can approach each other. This forms the basis for voice training. To ensure complete phonation, additional factors are required. They include intensive training and interaction of multiple areas in the human body. In addition to closing the glottis and the free-swinging vocal folds, a continuous flow of air, a free neck tube and listening are needed.

The neck tube is located in the oral, nasal and pharyngeal cavities. The air must be free to speak and sing through the lungs, bronchi and trachea. If all systems work together, the voice is formed.


Complaints and diseases associated with hoarseness cause complications of phonation. Doctors call hoarseness as a dysponie. This is a voice disturbance that triggers a change in timbre. The reason for this are the vocal cords. With a hoarseness this is no longer possible to swing freely.

The voice becomes rough, scratchy and at the same time quieter. Hoarseness can be triggered by various diseases. Infections, allergies or inflammation are among them. A respiratory infection additionally narrows the trachea. These can be bronchitis or angina. Inflammation of the trachea or the larynx also causes irritative cough in addition to hoarseness. Nervous inflammation of the larynx may cause dysfunction or failure of the thyroarytaenoid muscle. A laryngeal carcinoma causes hoarseness in the initial stadium and later, depending on its place of origin, presses on individual cartilages of the larynx. These can no longer exercise their functions.

The same happens when benign neoplasms arise. This is the case with edema or cysts. Effects on the phonation also have an overuse of the vocal cords or a tear of the ligaments. At the same time, cartilage on the larynx can be injured by accidents or falls and have consequences on their functioning. Smoking, inhalation of toxic gases or continuous dust also influences the activity of the larynx.

If it comes to paralysis of the vocal cords or the inferior laryngeal nerve, the thyroarytaenoideus muscle can no longer operate because it is no longer supplied. Faulty intubations trigger trauma to the larynx. This happens during a long-lasting intubation or as a result of an intensive or rescue treatment. Intubation may cause damage to the larynx and the vessels, nerves and cartilage present there due to external circumstances during an emergency.

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