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Why does your voice sound different on a recording? Greg Foot Answers Your Questions - Head Squeeze

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Published on Sep 9, 2013

Greg Foot tells us exactly why we hate the sound of our own voice on answering machines and such like in this Headsqueeze single question science video.

When we make a recording of our own voice then play it back, we are hearing it more or less as other people do. The sound waves travel as a series of vibrations through the air and meet our ear drum. The ear drum in turn sets three tiny bones vibrating - the incus, malleus and the stapes and they send vibrations into the cochlea. The cochlea translates the vibrations into nerve signals and those are sent to the brain. Why then does that sound so different to what we perceive as our own voice?

When you speak you hear your own voice in two different ways. The first is as above, vibrating sound waves hitting your ear drum. The second way is via vibrations inside your skull actually set off by your vocal chords. Those vibrations travel up through your bony skull and again set the ear drum vibrating. However as they travel through the bone they spread out and lower in pitch, giving you a false sense of bass. Then when you hear a recording of your voice, it sounds distinctly higher and the comparison can be quite surprising.

Greg Foot explains all in this marvellous Headsqueeze video. If you have any other sound related science questions, post them in the comments below and we'll try to cover them. Give us a thumbs up, share and subscribe for more science goodness from Greg and the team.

Have you ever inhaled helium? Greg Foot has the science behind it: http://youtu.be/H_4EKENWB7c

Whether your voice sounds different or not, have you wondered if your dog understands you: http://youtu.be/abtJBweOyUA

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Filmed at http://www.evolutions.tv

Greg Foot Answers Your Questions: An entirely interactive show, every week Science Daredevil Greg Foot answers the questions that our audience have sent in through YouTube comments, Tweets, and facebook posts. Make sure you keep asking us questions in the comments!

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