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Why do not we like the recorded sound of our voice?

Why do not we like the recorded sound of our voice?

July 19, 2024

It happens many times. Someone records us and, when we hear our own voice , we are invaded by an unpleasant sensation, a mixture of shame and disappointment when we notice that, curiously, what sounds is not at all like the way we speak.

In addition, this is becoming more frequent. As the use of voice messages and social networks becomes more popular, little by little it becomes very normal to have to face that horrible noise that is our recorded voice. A tone of voice unclear, sometimes trembling and curiously dull that does not do us justice. To think that is what others listen to when we vibrate our vocal cords is very discouraging.


But why does this happen? Where is it born? that mixture of self and others shame What do we usually notice when we listen to our recorded voice? The cause is psychological.

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Listening to our own voice

The first thing to keep in mind to understand this phenomenon is that, although we do not realize it, the human brain is constantly learning what our voice is like. It's easy enough, since most people use our vocal cords a lot during a day, so our nervous system is monitoring what that sound is like, creating a kind of imaginary "media" of how our voice sounds and the is fixing our self-concept in real time .


And what is self-concept? It is precisely what the word indicates: the concept of oneself. Is about an abstract idea of ​​one's identity , and therefore overlaps with many other concepts. For example, if we believe that we are sure of ourselves, this idea will be very close to our self-concept, and possibly the same will happen, for example, with an animal with which we identify ourselves: the wolf, for example. If our identity is closely linked to the country in which we were born, all the ideas linked to this concept will also be part of the self-concept: its gastronomy, its landscapes, its traditional music, etc.

In short, the self-concept is composed of ideas and stimuli that reach us through all the senses: images, tactile sensations, sounds ...

  • Related article: "Self-concept: what is it and how is it formed?"

Comparing the recording with what we hear

Thus, our voice will be one of the most important stimuli of our self-concept. If tomorrow we woke up with another totally different voice, we would realize immediately and possibly suffer an identity crisis, although that new tone of voice was fully functional. As we are listening to our vocal chords all the time, this sound has deep roots in our identity and, in turn, we learn to make it fit with all the sensations and concepts that make up the self-concept.


Now ... is it really our voice that we internalize as if it were part of us? Yes and no. Partly yes, because the sound part of the vibration of our vocal cords and is what we use to speak and express our views and our own vision of the world. But, at the same time, no, because the sound that our brain records is not just our voice , but a mixture of this and many other things.

What we are doing when listening to us in a normal context is, in reality, hearing the sound of our vocal cords muffled and amplified by our own body : cavities, muscles, bones, etc. We perceive it in a different way than we do with any other sound, because it is born from within us.

And what about the recordings?

On the other hand, when our voice is recorded, we listen to it as we would listen to the voice of any other person: we record the waves that collect our eardrums, and from there to the auditory nerve. There are no shortcuts, and our body does not amplify that sound any more than it would with any other noise.

What happens in reality is that this type of recordings are a blow against our self-concept, since we see questioned one of the central ideas on which our identity is built: that our voice is X, and not Y.

At the same time, the questioning of this pillar of one's own identity causes others to falter . This new sound is recognized as something strange, that does not fit into what we are supposed to be and that also creates a mess in that network of interconnected concepts that is self-concept. What happens if we sound a bit more puny than expected? How does that fit with that image of a robust, compact man floating in our imagination?

The bad news is that that voice that gives us so much embarrassment is justly the same one that everyone else listens to every time we talk . The good news is that a good part of the unpleasant feeling we experience when we hear it is due to the comparative clash between the voice we usually hear and that other, and not because our voice is particularly annoying.


Why you don’t like the sound of your own voice | Rébecca Kleinberger (July 2024).


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