How Your Environment Shapes Your Voice

Posted on Posted in Sound More Mature

Do you sound like your mother, your father, your sister, or your brother? Have you ever wondered why your voice sounds the way it does? While you may sound like a particular parent or sibling, your speaking voice is as individual to you as are your fingerprints. Yes, you may sound similar to that relative but it is not exactly the same.

Why we sound the way we do is influenced by several factors including genetics. However, if you were raised in one of the southern states, you would speak with a drawl; were you from Boston, you would drop your R’s; and, were you a Texan, you would have a distinctive twang. If you have a speech impediment, this too can have an effect on the sound of your voice.

This dialect with which you speak affects the actual quality of the voice because in order to speak with that particular accent, you will enunciate your words differently in your mouth or nasal passages. How I say the word coffee, for instance, is different than how a person from North Jersey says it. I also don’t drink wooder; I drink water.

Let’s look at the nasal sound typical of those from the Bronx or Brooklyn. By pushing their words through the nose, these New Yorkers speak with a higher-pitched voice than they would if they did not exhibit excessive nasality. (Pitch refers to the highness or lowness of sound not volume which deals with the loudness or softness of sound.)

Now let’s look at you and your mom and dad. If you are female and you had a loving relationship with your mother in your early childhood development, then you probably sound like her. The same goes for men in regards to their relationships with their dads. We subconsciously imitate our parents in our speech patterns.

If you did not have a good relationship with your same-sex parent in your early formative years, however, there is a very good chance that you don’t sound like that parent. An interesting example of this is Ellen. When I met this woman she sounded like a 10-year-old. When I asked her if she sounded like her mother, she responded that her mother had been a very cruel woman with a very deep voice. Ellen and her sister retained their childlike voices so as not to resemble their abusive mother.

No matter why your voice sounds the way it does, the good news is that you can improve your voice just by learning to place it properly. Most people do not know how to speak with their real voice because of this misplacement. What results are voices being powered by the voice box, throat, mouth and/or nose, all important resonators in the production of sound. For most people, however, the one resonator that is missing is the chest cavity.

Once you discover your natural voice, you will then be able to increase your volume without shouting; and, for those who are soft-spoken, learning to power your voice from your chest cavity will increase your volume naturally. If you suffer from chronic hoarseness or sore throats and you are not sick, placing your voice properly means that your vocal abuse will end because you will be eliminating the wear and tear on your vocal cords and throat.

And, to top it off, once you find your real voice, you will actually like hearing it on your voicemail or other recording equipment. You’ve got a better voice in there. Why not find out just how good it can be!


Check out Craig’s ‘before & after’ on the homepage of my website and see why his father said, “That’s the best investment you’ve made!”