“Do I really sound like that?” – is the one question that we often ask the person who plays back our recorded voice. So much so, that we, on most occasions, refrain from hearing the recording and distance ourselves from the apparent torture of hearing our own voice.

However, there are reasons for it. An assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Washington, in a CNN article, listed down two reasons, explaining the science behind it

The discomfort we feel on hearing our voice recording is due to a ‘mix of physiology and psychology’.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The sound that we hear in an audio recording is transmitted differently to our brains than compared to the sound when we speak.

While listening to the audio, the sound travels through the air and into your ears. This is called “air conduction.” The sound causes the eardrum and the small ear bones to vibrate. In return, these bones transmit the vibrations to the cochlea, which, in turn, stimulates nerve axons, sending auditory signals to the brain.

But it is different when we speak. During this, the voice reaches the inner ear differently. While some of the sounds are transmitted through air conduction, some are internally conducted directly through your skull bones.

So when we hear our own voices while speaking, it is due to a mixture of both external and internal conduction. The internal bone conduction helps in lowering the frequencies.

And because of this, people generally perceive their voice as deeper and richer when they speak and in a recording, the voice sounds thinner and higher-pitched.

This was one. What’s the second reason?

The other reason why the experience can be unpleasant is because the phenomenon exposes a difference between your self-perception and reality.

Since we think our voice is unique, the mismatch can be disconcerting.

In 2005, a study was carried out where the enrolled were made to hear their own voice and rate it accordingly. It was found that patients reacted negatively to the recorded voice.

So, whenever we think that we don’t like your voice, it is our inner self who is making us cringe. The reality is different.