a students' magazine / Science

Why does my recorded voice sound so unfamiliar to me?

Whilst watching myself on video, I wondered how it was that my voice sounded so awful. It didn’t sound at all as I imagined. It was too wiry and high-pitched. So, today I am going to answer this unresolvable dilemma.

There are two ways by which sound can enter our ears; one is air-conducted and the other is bone-conducted.

Sound comes from vibration that propagates through the air. The sound wave is then captured by our outer ear that sends it into the auditory canal. At the end of the canal is the eardrum that begins to vibrate, and this vibration is transmitted to three ossicles: the malleus, the incus and the stapes. They amplify and transmit the vibration to the oval window that leads to the inner ear. In here, a liquid stimulates some nerve endings, sending electric impulses to the brain.

Therefore, all sounds that we hear are air conducted, but when we speak we hear both air conducted and bone-conducted.

Bone-conducted sound is when vibrations from vocal cords resonate in the throat and mouth, and some are transmitted and conducted by the bones in the neck and head as we speak, and only the speaker hears this.

This combination of vibrations gives the sound that we think our voice has. However, and sadly for us, our voice does not sound like we think it does. Our true voice is what we hear when it is recorded and that is what others hear.

If you want to know what your real voice sounds like, just follow these simple instructions:

  1. Get two sheets of paper
  2. Put them in front of your ears, one on the left and one on the right
  3. Start talking


Not only will you sound silly, you will also look silly. But it works! 😉

2 thoughts on “Why does my recorded voice sound so unfamiliar to me?

  1. I think it is one of the most curious dilemmas… For years I’ve been wondering why my recorded voice sounded in such an annoying way… And now I know why at home everyone hates me when I talk for a lot of time, my voice is quite like an alarm clock at 6 am! Thank you so much for this post 😉

    • I’m so glad this post was of some help for you! Why don’t you get the rest of your family to see what their real voice sounds like too, they might stop complaining about yours 🙂

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