Norma, a woman from the UK, has spoken like a man for as long as she can remember due to abnormally enlarged vocal chords. Although she's content, she finds it difficult to prove she is a woman on the phone. She says she only fully realized what an unusual voice she had at the age of ten. She recorded a vinyl record at a booth, singing ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’. Norma has seen doctors about her masculine voice but there’s no cure for her condition.
The loss of a voice happens to many people. Among them is my hero Steven Hawking (born on exactly the same day as I was). He's an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author. As he lost the use of his vocal cords, he designed his world-famous voice.
One cause for this failing is Locked-in syndrome, a devastating condition in which a person can lose control over nearly all of their body, while their mental abilities are unaffected. One programmer, faced with this prospect, is using his skills to find a way to keep communicating even if the worst happens.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28041743 Gal Sont, the co-founder of Click2Speak, is using his eyes to program the next version of software he hopes will allow him to keep communicating, even though, aged 38, he is gradually losing the ability to move and talk.
Diagnosed with the degenerative illness amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2009, the neurons in Gal's brain and spinal cord responsible for voluntary movement are gradually dying.
As more neurons are destroyed, more and more muscle control is lost. Gal's first reaction was to use computers to help solve some of his problems.
Click2Speak aims to make software for disabled people more affordable than anything that exists at the moment. A special eye-tracking camera tracks eye movements, this allows control of the cursor on the screen. The click is activated by using a foot mouse, or by looking at a button for a few seconds.
As his condition deteriorates, Click2Speak will help Gal communicate with his family and the world around him. The software will give him a voice, help him work on updates for other users with many different problems, and do the thing he has loved since he was a child.
Can you envisage how your life would change if you lost your voice?