Have you ever been surprised by the sound of your own voice in a video?
You’re not alone - and there’s a perfectly good scientific reason that's explains why.
According to Dr Aaron Johnson, a US speech–language pathologist and assistant professor in the otolaryngology department at NYU Langone’s Voice Center, when we hear someone else’s voice – or our own voice on a recording – the sound travels through our ear to the eardrum. Our brain translates the minute vibrations in our inner ear into sound.
But when we hear sounds coming from our own mouth, something different occurs.
“As we’re talking, sound waves travel not only outside our body, but there is energy bouncing around in our mouth and throat and through our head, directly to the inner portion of our ear,” says Dr Johnson.
So when we hear ourselves in a recording, we don’t get those extra vibrations in our mouths and throats, and we hear what everyone else does.
“We think of ourselves as sounding a certain way, and then we hear ourselves on recording and it’s completely different,” explains Dr Johnson. “It’s unexpected. It’s like, ‘That’s not me’.”
“People are surprised they sound… irritating because it sounds brighter and sounds higher than what they’re used to,” he says.
Still can't handle the sound of your own voice? Listen to recordings of it, suggests Dr Johnson.
“The more you get used to that, the more you acknowledge ‘That really is my sound’,” he says.
Now we like the sound of that.