CINCINNATI - At University Hospital, Jan Christian of Alexandria, Ky. recently heard the sound of her own voice for the first time in 35 years.
Christian was 17 when a car crash left her windpipe crushed.
"I tried to talk and I sounded like Linda Blair from the ‘Exorcist,' and then I panicked," she said.
She couldn't speak above a whisper and for years, avoided the awkwardness of trying to explain why.
"I'm kind of a people person and I like to talk so it was hard for me to put myself in those situations, rather stay home and not deal with it."
She said she saw herself regress and become withdrawn. However, life would change again when she met Dr. Sid Khosla at University Hospital.
"The vocal cords were far apart and in order to start talking they have to meet and then the lining vibrates--hers weren't anywhere near close enough," said Dr. Khosla.
"I feel like I'm finding myself again, the inside is coming out and it's just--I'm full of joy," says Christian.
Her first word?
"Eeeee....that was the first sound I made."
Christian works on her speech now with Dr. Eva van Leer who remembers the moment Christian made her first sound and cried.
"That moment is such a meaningful, beautiful moment in a subtle way or if it's a big thing--I love , it's what it's all about."
Christian, whose husband and three children never heard her voice before, can't remember her voice at 17.
"I don't and I never recorded. Everybody says I was really loud and squeaky and obnoxious," Christian said.
And what do they say now?
"I'm just loud!"
Doctors hope with continued voice therapy, her voice will get even stronger.