We've all experienced it: watching a home movie or listening to a voicemail played back and being confronted with the horror of how we sound when we speak. Am I really that whiny? Do I really sound like that? How do people's ears not bleed when I talk? We never sound the way we do in our heads. But why? Is technology just that bad at accurately capturing our true selves?
NBC News' Jordan Gaines explains that we can hear things in two different ways, air-conducted or bone-conducted. When we hear our voices played back to us through recordings the sound is air-conducted, in which vibrations from our eardrums are converted into nerve impulses by the cochlea. But when we speak, the sound of our voices is bone-conducted.
Vibrations from our vocal cords directly reach the cochlea. Our skulls deceive us by, in fact, lowering the frequency of these vibrations along the way, which is why we often perceive ourselves as higher-pitched when we listen to a recording.
So if our pitches sound lower in our heads, then what do people with super low voices, like Harvey Fierstein, hear? Or that guy who sings bass in Boyz II Men?
Why you hate the sound of your own voice [NBC News]
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