By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ever heard yourself on your voicemail and think, “I sound like that?” Cookie from Minnetonka did, so she emailed wanting to know: Why do I hate the sound of my own voice? Good Question.

Before she recently heard herself on her voicemail, Cookie Deters thought she could be on the radio. Ten seconds of hearing her own voice, though, shattered that dream.

“I’m like, oh my gosh, no,” she says.

So, what is the difference between the sounds we hear and what others hear us say?

“The way we hear our voice is really unique,” says Janet Hansen, an audiologist with Hennepin County Medical Center. “It only sounds that way to us.”

There are two ways that we hear. The first is through the air and it’s how we hear almost all sounds – words, songs, traffic. It’s called air conduction. The sound goes in the ear canal, vibrates the ear drum and heads up the inner ear before going to the brain.

“But, when we talk, you actually also hear through what we call bone conduction, so the voice resonates from our throat up through the jawbone and into the skull,” says Hansen.

That vibration in our throats changes the way we hear what we’re saying. It gives it a different deeper and richer quality. When a person talks, he or she hears the sound of their own voice through air and bone conduction.

“People seem to prefer that because that’s the way we hear ourselves all the time,” says Hansen.

People who use hearing aids can also feel these effects because they can often hear themselves through the hearing aid. Over time, Hansen says people get used to the hearing and aide and the sound of their own voice.

Heather Brown

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