Sorry, That's Your Real Voice On Zoom
Tell us if you've experienced this sometime during quarantine. You open up a Zoom call or some other type of video conference, and just after you've finished getting your hair to resemble something other than a tumbleweed, or remembered to adjust the cam to make sure it doesn't show everyone your lack of pants, you click the button to connect to audio. Then you say "Billy Joel's Apple Sauce" to test your microphone because who gives a shit what you say, we're in the middle of a pandemic. And, boom, you're hit with a sudden realization: "Holy crap, does my voice really sound this whiny?"
The answer is yeah, it does. You see, there's a difference between the sound you normally hear when you speak and the sound you playback on a recording. Unfortunately, the recorded version, the thing that sounds off pitch, off tune, and off-Broadway with no chance of ever getting on, that's the voice that other people hear. You don't actually hear your own voice coming directly out of your mouth when you talk. What you're hearing is your voice vibrating from your vocal cords into your skull. As those vibrations travel through the skull they spread out and lower in pitch, causing you to hear more bass than is actually there. You might think that your words are dripping with the deep sexual energy of Idris Elba when in reality you're yapping like Tom Holland after stubbing his toe.
If you want to know how bad your voice actually sounds in real-time (if you can handle the pain), there's a simple way to test it. It's called the folder trick and its implementation is as complicated as its name is mysterious. Basically, you grab two folders and hold them to the side of your noggin. The sound waves then have to go out in front of you and bounce off the room in order for you to hear them.
So there you go. Enjoy spending the rest of quarantine getting acquainted with your new (old) voice. Or you can just stick to emails from now on.
Dan has a podcast about The Bachelor and his voice sounds about as bad as you can imagine. Check that out if you want.
Top Image: Gabriel Benois/Unsplash