Feeds

Larry Page acknowledges creeping vocal paralysis

Google boss asks for public's help to cure condition

Build a business case: developing custom apps

It has often been noted that Google's CEO Larry Page comes across as somewhat muted when speaking, which he took a break from entirely last year with an unexplained throat issue. Now he has revealed what the problem is.

His vocal issues began 14 years ago after a heavy cold left him very hoarse. His condition was diagnosed as partial paralysis of the left vocal cords, possibly as a result of the virus which sparked his initial cold.

"While this condition never really affected me – other than having a slightly weaker voice than normal which some people think sounded a little funny – it naturally raised questions in my mind about my second vocal cord," he said. "But I was told that sequential paralysis of one vocal cord following another is extremely rare."

Not rare enough, it seems. Last June he caught another cold and his voice got worse, with the right side of his vocal cords suffering serious damage. Again, no cause could be found, but Page took time off from public speaking until October's Google earnings call.

Page said that the problems also slightly affect his breathing abilities while exercising (although he claims his kiteboarding stamina is undiminished), and that although his voice is strong enough for work and home use, public speaking is tough.

Cofounder Sergey Brin tells Page it makes him a better CEO because he chooses his words carefully.

Over the course of his illness, Page said he ran into Dr. Steven Zeitels of the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center, and agreed to fund research into the problem and how it might be cured. But, frustratingly for a Googler, there's a lack of data.

Vocal paralysis isn't a widespread condition, and there is a lack of case-study evidence for the condition. Page, therefore, is asking members of the public to contribute their experiences of the condition to the Voice Health Project.

As El Reg has noted Page's voice has noticeably deteriorated over time, and he says he finds giving long-winded speeches tiresome, in any case. "So surprisingly, overall I am feeling very lucky," he says – although that won't stop him trying to find a cure. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.