June 22, 2021
why

Why does my own voice sound strange in the recording?

There are always scenes like this in life that are unbelievable: Whenever we speak in public, we are always startled by the strange voice from the microphone. If it weren’t for the microphone being caught in our own hands, really I think the owner of that voice is an unrelated stranger. When we played back the voice messages we sent out in WeChat, we always felt weird, and couldn’t help but wonder if the phone changed our voice like this during the recording process. Who is to blame?

Some people think that the mouth is too close to the ears. We usually listen to our own voices from the mouth to the ears, and we have long been used to it. In the situation mentioned above, the sound is transmitted from the microphone and then heard by the ear, so of course it feels weird. Some people guess that this is the fault of electronic products such as microphones and mobile phones. It may be that there is some problem in the conversion between sound waves and electric current. What is the truth of the matter?

In fact, the reason why we feel weird when we listen to our own voice in the microphone or mobile phone is because the sound wave transmission channel of our own voice is different from that of our own voice in the recording.

Usually when you speak, our perception of our own voice is actually a mixed effect. Because when people speak, the sound will travel along two different paths: one is the medium of transmission, and sound waves travel through the air into our ears; the other is through bone conduction, and the vibration of sound waves passes through the skull when speaking. And the muscles of the mouth. The sound that travels through the air can be heard by others in addition to being heard by yourself. Only oneself can hear the sound through bone conduction.

Our brain’s judgment of our own voice is the result of the mixing of these two transmission channels, and it is based on bone conduction. Because the sound transmission ability of solid is much better than air. The sound transmitted through the air is greatly affected by the environment, and the sound wave will produce a lot of attenuation. Moreover, air-borne sound must pass through the outer ear, eardrum, and middle ear, and finally enter the inner ear to cause the tympanic membrane to vibrate. This process will also affect the energy and tone of the sound. However, the sound through bone conduction directly reaches the inner ear through the bones in the head. In this process, the attenuation of the energy and tone of the sound is much smaller.

When we listen to our own voice through a microphone or recording, the sound can only be transmitted through the air. At this time, we will naturally feel that this sound is much different from the sound dominated by bone conduction. Therefore, the fundamental reason why we are unfamiliar with our own voice in the recording is not due to our usual habits nor the microphone or cell phone, but because the same sound has different transmission media in the two situations.

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