Pharynx vs. Larynx
Difference Between Pharynx And Larynx
After entering the nose or mouth, air passes freely through the pharynx, the tube that connects the mouth with the esophagus and the larynx. On its way to the larynx, air crosses above the entrance to the esophagus. Esophagus is the tube carrying food from mouth to stomach. To prevent food particles from entering the respiratory passages, the body has an ingenious mechanism. Bottom of the pharynx is a thin flap called the epiglottis. When a person who is eating or drinking swallows, the epiglottis folds over the top of the larynx, and the larynx moves upward slightly, sealing off the opening. At the same time, the sensory nerves that bring about the swallowing movements send impulses to the respiratory nerve center, preventing inhalation.
The larynx below the pharynx trachea consists of nine bits of cartilage held together by muscles and ligaments. The largest piece of cartilage causes the bulge at the front of the neck—the Adam’s apple. The larynx is also known as the voice box. It contains two elastic vocal cords. During normal breathing, there is a fairly wide space between them. To produce sound, the cords are drawn together. Then, as air is exhaled from the lungs, the cords vibrate. The muscles and ligaments stretch or relax the vocal cords to produce higher or lower tones. These sounds are then shaped into speech or song with our mouths.