You might have recently recorded what you thought was the perfect TikTok, YouTube video, or Instagram reel, only to play it back and cringe at the sound of your voice. Or maybe you’re a public speaker who has to painstakingly listen to yourself rehearse before giving a big speech. Many people react with disgust at the sound of their own voice when they hear it on recordings, even though they hear it every day when they speak. In one 2005 study, patients and clinicians rated the quality of their voice and consistently rated it more negatively than the objective physicians did (via Clinical Otolaryngology).

Actually, late psychologists ​​Philip Holzman and Clyde Rousey coined the term “voice confrontation” to define this phenomenon back in 1966. Basically, the reason we all cringe so much when we hear our voices recorded and don’t do so when we hear ourselves talking is due to differences in what you expect your voice to sound like and what you actually hear when the tapes are rolled back.

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