Published October 24, 2015
If you’ve had laryngitis, you know how annoying it can be.
But the condition usually clears up within a few weeks – except for one woman, it lasted 30 years.
Betty Lou Trufant, who lives in Portland, Maine, lost her voice three decades ago after she developed a cold. One of her vocal cords became paralyzed and she just recently got her voice back.
Trufant said she developed a bad cold in 1982, which caused the laryngitis. Her voice sound breathy and raspy.
“Probably 25-35 percent of the people we see who have a paralyzed vocal cord, have it due to a virus,” said Dr. Michael Benninger of the Cleveland Clinic, who operated on Trufant.
Benninger operated on Trufant at the Clinic and put an implant in her throat designed to push the paralyzed cord back into place and allow the cords to touch again, thus creating sound.
“I sound so different, so different,” Trufant said. “So good. He (the doctor) is thrilled at how I’m sounding already. I mean, wow.”
After years of not speaking, Trufant said she is making up for lost time – she is chattier than ever and plans to sing many Christmas carols.
“I think the patients find it amazing because they go from this to this, right on the operating table, and it’s like an eye opener for everybody in the room, every time we do it,” Benninger said.