Give Now

A Moment of Science

Voices On Tape

Have you ever noticed that when you hear your own voice on tape it doesn't sound like you?

music notes

Photo: Daniel Paxton (Flickr)

Do you sound different on tape?

Many people don’t like the sound of their own voice on tape. Usually, this is because their voice sounds different from what they think it should sound like.

Internal and External Voices

You see, your familiar voice is really a combination of two voices. You hear your external voice, the voice that everyone else hears, and your internal voice, a voice that only you can hear. Both the external and internal voices begin with the vocal cords, but your external voice is made of sound waves that have traveled out of your mouth, through the air and into your ears and into the ears of other people.

Your internal voice is made up of the sound waves that travel through the bones and tissues of your head: these structures transmit sound waves directly from your throat to your ear. When you hear yourself on tape, you don’t hear the familiar internal voice, just the external voice, so you sound strange to yourself but quite normal to everyone else.


You can be trained to hear your external voice more clearly. Professional singers also use techniques that help them sing by focusing on how the right notes feel rather than how they sound.

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science