Why do we dislike hearing a recording of our own voice?

I’ve been doing tons of talks about voices not too long ago to advertise my guide Now You’re Talking. If I ask an viewers whether or not they like hearing a recording of their own voices, practically everybody shakes their head. It appears a actually frequent expertise to dislike a recording of your own voice.

The very first thing to rule out is that the recorded voice doesn’t jar as a result of it’s unattractive. A examine revealed final month confirmed that folks discovered recordings of their own voice extra engaging than others [2]. The researchers additionally discovered that folks are inclined to over estimate the attractiveness of their own voice as properly! So why do we not like hearing a recording of our own voice?

The voice in your head is completely different to what others hear

When we speak, we hear our voice through two routes. Some of what you hear comes from the sound going out of the mouth, across the aspect of the pinnacle and into the ears; that is known as the airborne path. The second path is bone conduction, with vibrations being handed internally by way of the physique to the ear. Both of these routes will are inclined to have much less excessive frequencies and so your voice will probably be considerably muffled. The treble of the air-borne route is lowered as a result of sound bends much less simply across the head at excessive frequency. The bone conduction route can also be naturally much less efficient at excessive frequencies.

But should you hearken to a recording of your voice, it isn’t merely a bit muffled, the timbre of the voice modifications. Measurements present that the relative significance of the airborne and bone conduction routes varies with what you’re saying [1]. For instance, for the vowel /a/ the bone conduction route is way quieter and fewer essential than the air-borne route. But for /i/ the bone conduction path provides a huge increase to the sound round 2000 Hz.

The image under exhibits some the standard frequency content material of completely different vowel sounds as measured on a microphone in entrance of a talker. The frequencies of the peaks sign what vowel is being stated to a listener. Combining airborne and bone conduction routes as occurs when we hear ourselves speak doesn’t change the frequencies of the peaks. What does change if you hear your own voice is the peak of the peaks. This means the vocal high quality or timbre modifications. As these alterations rely upon what sound you’re making, the results are in fixed flux. This goes to make your voice sound very completely different inside your head in comparison with a recording.

Vowel spectra
Spectra for various vowels

Why do we dislike it?

Our voice locations a important half of who we are. When we speak we don’t simply cross on phrases. How we converse reveals one thing; about who we are, the place we come from and the way we really feel. How issues are stated is a important half of communication and our vocal id reveals intimate particulars about ourselves. No marvel we don’t like to search out out that we sound completely different and are due to this fact projecting a completely different id to what we thought.

But there may be extra to this than merely a change in vocal timbre. When we hearken to a recording of ourselves, we get a likelihood to analyse how issues had been being stated. We’ve received tons to consider as we speak, however when we hear again to a recording we can think about what was stated and the way it was stated. Listening due to this fact reveals how a lot we’re giving freely in our voice, a lot of which we’re not that conscious of as we converse. On events it reveals that we’re giving out an impression that we didn’t intend.

I ponder how a lot that is altering now that voice recordings through cell movies is getting so frequent. When I used to be rising up recording gear was uncommon and so I rarely heard my own recorded voice. Now it’s in every single place. I ponder if youthful generations have a completely different view of their voices as a result of of that? What do you suppose?


[1] Reinfeldt, S., Östli, P., Håkansson, B. and Stenfelt, S., 2010. Hearing one’s own voice throughout phoneme vocalization—Transmission by air and bone conduction. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America128(2), pp.751-762.

[2] Peng, Z., Wang, Y., Meng, L., Liu, H. and Hu, Z., 2018. One’s own and related voices are extra engaging than different voices. Australian Journal of Psychology.

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