I don’t Like My Voice on Video

Man with hands over his ears wincing, because he says, "I don't like my voice on video"

Have you ever cringed while listening to your own voice on a video or podcast? Video is such an essential part of anyones business marketing tool kit, which is a problem, especially when I don’t like my voice on video! It can be a real stumbling block for many business owners and their teams and can actually stop them creating the content that will grow their business . So, Could there actually be a scientific reason for hating your voice?

‘Hear’ comes the science bit..

When we speak, sound waves travel through the air and into our ears, where they’re converted into nerve impulses and sent to the brain for processing. However, there’s a crucial difference between how we perceive our own voice and how others hear it.

The sound we hear when speaking comes from two sources: external sound waves traveling through the air and vibrations conducted through the bones of our skull. This combination creates a fuller, deeper sound that we think of as our own voice. However, when we hear a recording of our voice played back, we only hear the external sound waves, without the bone-conducted vibrations. This results in a discrepancy between how we perceive our voice internally and how it sounds externally.

But why does this difference lead to such a dislike? Some clever psychologists suggest that our self-perception plays a big role. We are accustomed to hearing our own voice as it resonates within our head, and this internal representation becomes part of our self-image. When confronted with the external reality of how our voice sounds to others, it can clash with this internalised version, leading to feelings of unease or dissatisfaction.

Our own voice is one of the most familiar sounds to us, as we hear it constantly in our own heads. When we hear a recording that doesn’t match what we usually hear, it can trigger a negative response simply because it is different from what we’re used to.

It’s not just about how you think you sound…

Cultural factors can also play a role. Society often places value on certain vocal qualities, such as clarity, pitch, and tone. When we perceive our recorded voice as deviating from these societal norms, it can contribute to feelings of inadequacy or self-consciousness.

Psychologists Phil Holzemann and Clyde Rousey  set out a study in 1966 and they decided that a dislike of ones own voice is not just about the higher than expected frequency, but also a realisation of all the subtle emotions that your voice conveys. Aspects of your personality that you can only fully understand when you hear them on a video or podcast. Things like anxiety, indecision, sadness, anger, etc. If you find going on video stressful and you’re not relaxed, these qualities will come out in your voice even if your face is trying to remain calm.

So, what can you do to overcome this dislike of your own voice? One approach is to reframe your perception. Instead of focusing on perceived flaws, you can try to  view recordings as opportunities for self-improvement and growth. By listening to your recorded voice objectively, you can identify areas for improvement and work towards refining your communication skills. It’s actually a key part of the process I use at Fearless Video when I work with clients.

Recognising that so many people experience this voice hatred to some degree and that your voice is just one aspect of who you are, can help with acceptance and self-esteem.

So next time you cringe at the sound of your own voice on video, remember that you’re not alone, and it’s just a natural quirk of human perception. As much as it might horrify you to know, everyone else has been hearing you this way all your life!

But I can help you find your voice.

At Fearless Video, I’ll always be at hand to help you overcome your wobbles when it comes to hearing yourself back. I’ll gently show you where small changes might be made to help you come across more like the natural version of yourself you see and hear, every day.

You can find out more here.