That’s why we hate our voice in recordings

The voice in recordings is indeed different: but the disorientation also has psychological roots: because we can't stand our recorded voice.

If you've ever experienced that you can't stand your voice in recordings, perhaps after listening to it again in a voice sent in chat, well there's absolutely nothing strange about that. Most people feel exactly that same sensation when they hear themselves again. And both physiology, the branch of biology that studies the functioning of living organisms, and psychology contribute to explaining why.

Why we can't stand our own voice, according to physiology

First of all, it's important to consider that, when a sound travels through the air (the phenomenon is called "air conduction"), it follows a path from the outside to the inside, whose destination is the brain: the energy of the sound waves makes some small bones in the ears vibrate, which in turn transmit the sound of the vibration to the cochlea. This internal component of the ear is directly connected to the brain by axons (also called neurites), which collect and forward the sound signal to our brain for processing.

When the sound source is our own voice, however, only part of the sound impulse follows the "external" path, traveling through the air. For the rest, the acoustic signal travels internally. For this reason, our brain processes it in a different way, giving greater importance to low frequencies, thus making our voice appear richer and stronger. In comparison, the one that comes out from recordings is more subtle and acute, so it could be less pleasant to those who listen to it through a recording device.

Why we can't stand our voice, according to psychology

According to experts, however, there could be another reason for the sense of disorientation that assails the speaker who listens to himself again. It has to do with the perception of oneself, therefore with psychological reasons: by listening more frequently while we speak, the voice, as it is perceived "from the inside", becomes an important component of our identity.

This is why not recognizing ourselves in the recordings is so destabilizing: the person we are listening to speak seems to be someone else. The characteristics of timbre and tone find no correspondence in the image of ourselves that we have built up through listening to our voice from the inside, and we don't like that. And if vocals alone are not enough, here comes artificial intelligence that imitates our voice to perfection.

Giuseppe Giordano