The Art & Science of Sound

Why You Hate the Sound of Your Own Voice

In my head, my voice is refined, deep, interesting, mellifluous – seriously, I should be voicing movie trailers my voice is so excellent. But the reality is, I hate the sound of my own voice. You probably do too (I mean hate the sound of your own voice, you probably don’t have much feeling either way about my voice).
Who I think I sound like.
Here's why...
Out in the air, or on my away message, or on those horrible family videos I appear in from time-to-time, my voice is horrible: Nasally, several registers higher than what it should be, and unrefined. It makes me actually feel sorry for the people who have to listen to me. You may describe your repulsion to your own voice differently, but we’re all in the same boat. Except Rod Stewart. I’ve heard Rod Stewart is pretty much the rare singer who actually loves the sound of his own voice. That’s why he's Rod Stewart.
The fault lies not so much in how our voices sound, but in how our heads transmit the sound of our voice to our ears. It’s a dirty trick our heads play on us that worked for thousands of years until the invention of the tape recorder and all the stuff that followed it. Believe it or not, reflections play a role. When we speak, the sound travels out of our mouths and around to our ears. At the same time, vibrations from our voices travel up our jawbones, into our skulls, and then into our ears. The mixture of these two distinct vibrations (one in the air and one in our bones) is what makes me (and you) think we should be hosting a podcast about people with great voices.
Who I actually sound like.
If you’d like to hear how others hear you for real try this little experiment: Take two pads of note paper into a quiet room and hold the note pads extending from your jawbone and then count to ten, or recite Shakespeare, or whatever you think your voice is worthy of. You’ll be even more disappointed than when you hear yourself on your Tik-Tok account. When you hear yourself recorded on a video or similar thing, you’re hearing the device and speaker, but with the notepads you hear what the rest of the world hears directly from your mouth.
Or you could just keep pretending that you are one step away from a successful voice-over career as long as that step is running from the room every time someone hits the record button.
By Jack Sharkey for KEF
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