Why Do We Dislike the Sound of Our Own Voice? | The Conscious Publicist

Why Do We Dislike the Sound of Our Own Voice?

Filed in The Conscious Voice, Thought Leadership, Voice Activation — August 7, 2023

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In a recent interview with Ladies Get Paid founder Claire Wasserman, she asked me:

“Why is it that when we hear the sound of our own voice, so many of us recoil in horror? My gosh—does this signal some serious self-loathing?” 

I’m on a mission to figure out why that is,” I told her. 

Have you ever felt uncomfortable listening to your recorded voice? You’re not alone! Join me as we explore the psychology behind this common phenomenon. Let’s dive in!

Expectations and Perception 

Many of us are taken aback by the sound of our own recorded voice, much in the same way, we might be surprised when a photograph doesn’t capture our expected symmetry. In front of a mirror, we see a reflection that seems balanced. However, photos are subject to varying angles, lens qualities, and lighting conditions. This can result in an image that doesn’t quite match our mirrored expectations. Just as many people are uncomfortable seeing videos or photos of themselves because it differs from this mirrored reflection, the unfamiliarity of our recorded voice can be unsettling.

The key word here is “expectation.” Our discomfort with our recorded voice isn’t because the sound is inherently unpleasant but because it differs from our internalized expectations. We have an internal vibration, model, and perception of how we think we sound based on years of speaking and listening to ourselves. It can be jarring when a recording deviates from this mental or vibrational representation. 

Emotional Dissonance

Our voices often convey emotions. And sometimes, hearing our recorded voice can bring to light the emotions we were experiencing during the recording, such as in a media interview. If someone was anxious, nervous, or unsure of what to say while recording, their voice might reflect those emotions. This dissonance between the intended message and the emotional tone can make us uncomfortable or dissatisfied with our voice.

Participating in a podcast or media interview may also make people feel vulnerable and exposed. Something commonly known as performance anxiety

Trust me, we all know the feeling. We may worry about how we come across, our choice of words, or how the sound of our voice is perceived. This vulnerability can amplify our discomfort when listening to our recorded voice.

Inner Voice vs. Outer Voice

Our inner voice, which we hear when we think or speak, often sounds more polished and controlled than our external voice. So when we hear our recorded voice, it may not match that collected image we have of ourselves or our understanding of our sound, leading to disconnect and unease.

It’s essential to remember that people are often their worst critics. When we hear our voice played back to us, it’s another version of ourselves that we’re not used to, and we may judge it more harshly. We might notice imperfections we weren’t previously aware of, making us feel self-conscious.

The crux of the matter is: People crave consistency and a clear understanding of their identity. The unknown can be daunting. This could be why so many of us embark on quests for self-discovery, leading us to remarkable topics like self-mastery and voice activation as we explore on The Conscious Publicist Podcast

Those who have invested time in self-reflection are often better equipped to embrace their continuous journey of discovery. This deepened self-awareness might be why they feel more at ease with aspects of themselves that others find jarring.

For instance, after much introspection, I have made peace with my recorded voice and grown to cherish its unique tone.

How To Fall in Love With Your Voice 

It’s normal for people to dislike or be surprised by the sound of their recorded voice. The good news is: as with many reactions to self-perception, repeated exposure can reduce the feeling of surprise or discomfort. Some professionals who often hear recordings of their voices (like singers, actors, or broadcasters) become acclimated. They may even better understand and control their vocal qualities and vibrations over time.

To shed light on my journey, I have learned to love my voice through self-awareness and by picking up on idiosyncrasies that make it unique. I believe it’s essential to discuss and explore the concept of falling in love with our voices in different contexts, as it can lead us to a deeper understanding of the power of self-perception. 

I advise you to embrace your unique sound through gradual, repeated exposure. Engage in hobbies (or professions) like singing, public speaking, podcasting, or audio-recording journaling, and acclimate yourself to the sound of your own voice.

Because I promise you: Finding the beauty in your voice is a journey worth taking. 

Tune in to The Conscious Publicist Podcast as we embark on a quest to embrace and master our voices. Together, we’ll explore various strategies for voice activation and discuss the challenges many people face in listening to their voices. I’m beyond excited to share this exploration with you and hope it leaves us all with a profound appreciation for the beauty of our individual voices!

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