Last summer, Page did not speak during Google's Q2 2012 earnings conference call, owing to an undisclosed ailment that affected his ability to talk publicly for several months. Coming not long after the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and the controversy over whether Apple owed investors more information about Jobs' health, awareness of Page's medical challenge raised similar, if more muted, questions in the media.
In a Google+ post on Tuesday, Page discussed his condition publicly for the first time. He explained that 14 years ago, he caught a bad cold that left his voice hoarse. His doctor at the time diagnosed him with left vocal cord paralysis, a nerve problem. A cause was never identified but Page speculates that a virus might be to blame.
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In any event, Page's voice mostly returned and Page says that he was told that his other vocal cord was not likely to be affected because sequential vocal cord paralysis was rare. Nonetheless, he was again afflicted with vocal cord paralysis last summer and again no cause was diagnosed.
Page now believes his vocal problems might be related to a thyroid condition, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, with which he was diagnosed in 2003, because although each vocal cord takes a different route through the body, both converge in the thyroid.
"Thankfully, after some initial recovery I'm fully able to do all I need to at home and at work, though my voice is softer than before," Page wrote. "And giving long monologues is more tedious for me and probably the audience. But overall over the last year there has been some improvement with people telling me they think I sound better."
Page adds that although his vocal cord problem has also limited his ability to exercise at peak aerobic capacity, he still outlasts his friends when kite surfing.
Page does not disclose the extent of the funding he plans to provide to the Voice Health Institute other than to say that it is "significant." A call to the Voice Health Institute went unanswered.
Google's other co-founder, Sergey Brin, also has written publicly about personal health issues. In 2008, Brin launched a blog on Google's blogger platform -- Google+ hadn't been launched yet -- with a post about his elevated risk for Parkinson's Disease and his interest in genetic research.