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Are our voices unique?

Is it true that all voices of all people from around the globe are different? There is not one like yours. How do scholars explain it and is there a chance your voice will change sometime in the future?

human voice

Did you ever think of how wonderful it is that we can identify a person by her/his voice? Did it ever occur to you that it is a wonder how it can possibly be true? Whenever you hear a song playing somewhere, you can say who sings it without even looking at the singer’s face. It is all thanks to the uniqueness if each person’s voice.

When you call your friend from a new number, they can always guess that it is you even if you have not introduced yourself yet. It is a pure miracle. I know how people are amazed at the difference all of us have in the way we look. We have different eyes, postures, and even fingerprints. Not one other person has the same fingerprint as you do. The same applies to the voice.

Do you know what makes out voices unique? First of all, this is about the way your voice emerges. Let’s see how our voice works. It starts in your lungs. You exhale air, and it creates a particular stream in the trachea and through the larynx. It consists of vocal folds or as they are also called air cords.

As the air moves through them, they start vibrating. It is this vibration that creates sounds. The higher the rate of vibration, called frequency, the higher the pitch will be. The pitch of your voice is largely determined by the length and tension of your vocal cords.

the human voice

However, just this vibration does not make you sound like anything. Scientifically speaking, the throat, nose, and mouth, act as a resonating chamber to turn those buzzing sounds into your unique human voice.

This complicated process of creating sounds within your body, with so many body organs involved in it is the first reason why every human being has a unique voice that cannot be repeated by anyone else. The way our organs are built determines how we will sound later. However, there are also other factors that make sure you sound in a unique manner only you can sound in.

Now as you know how voice works, let’s move on.

The other factor for making your voice unique is your sex. You definitely know that women tend to have higher voices than man. It can also be explained with the way your organs work and other little details that determine how you will sound. At first boys and girls sound alike, but as boys become teenagers, their voices become deeper and lower.

The reason for it is that the vocal cords that are stretched horizontally and the process determine how you will sound like. Men have a higher level of vibration frequency which is about 125 Hz, while women have 210 Hz. Children have the highest level of vibration frequency which can be around 300 Hz. As you probably understood, the higher this level is, the higher the voice of a person is.

frequency of human voice

When a boy enters puberty, his vocal cords get thicker and longer, and that is why their voice gets deeper. Here is what Mental Floss mentions about this process:

“In males, the production of testosterone ramps up, and the larynx increases in size. Men that produce higher levels of testosterone during puberty will usually develop lower voices as they grow into adulthood. Girl’s vocal folds will also grow a bit (about 3 mm compared to 10 mm in boys), but, since they’re not churning out testosterone, their voices remain comparatively high.”

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Other people note that your voice also depends greatly on the voice your parents have. There is nothing you can do to stop the effect of the genetics on your voice. Your anatomical structure is quite alike, so you cannot help sounding a bit like your parents.

There are a few things that change how we sound. You know that usually when you are sick, you sound differently. The thing is that when you are sick, your vocal cords are inflamed. So, they are probably swollen and thicker. That is why when you have a sore throat your voice gets deeper and more intense.

Another factor that can influence how you sound is your emotional state. When under high pressure, people tend to sound differently. The voice gets higher and less intense. Here is how you can explain it from the scientific point of view: “When we’re excited, nervous, or frightened, the muscles buttressing the larynx contract involuntarily, and tension in the vocal cords will increase to produce that high, unsteady pitch we associate with alarm. Though the voice will return to normal once the stimulus passes, people who are generally high-strung will often adopt some variation of this alarmed voice as their natural cadence.” Believe it or not, you can definitely notice these changes in your own voice or voices of those around you.

how voice works

People that work in the very polluted area tend to have lower voices. No fresh air is affecting the way the person speak significantly. And not only that but also dry air in the offices can change your voice. People that work as professional singers are often advised to have an air humidifier next to the place they work to be able to breathe fresh air that is wet enough for them not to experience discomfort from their throat being overly dry.

Moreover, people that smoke or drink alcohol often have their voices change, as the harmful components that come from alcohol or cigarettes destroy the vocal cords and as a result, affect the voice of the person. The tissues become less healthy and lose their strength and elasticity and so, the membrane vital for the sound gets thinner and drier.

Another factor to be taken into consideration is that we all get older, not younger. So, the vocal cords can no longer be as elastic and overall healthy as they used to be when we were just kids. There is a special term presbyphonia. This term means that the older you get, the more changes your voice undergoes. Sharon Basaraba states that presbyphonia is often accompanied by a range of changes like “problems in volume, breath support, hoarseness and fatigue increasingly are sending older adults to ear, nose, and throat medical specialists (otolaryngologists) for advice.”

Here is what according to the trusted scientific sources you will undergo as you get older:

  • Shakiness/tremor in the voice
  • Reduced voice volume and projection
  • Difficulty being heard by others
  • Higher pitch voice (men)
  • Lower pitch voice (women)
  • Reduced vocal endurance

There are different ways to treat the changes in your voice connected to the aging process. And you can easily find them online. You should also stay away from the bad habits that destroy it as well as try to make the air you breathe at a workplace wetter with the aid of air humidifier.

how does voice work

Your voice is a unique instrument. So doctors highly recommend taking good care of it and preventing any kind of damage you can suffer from. Try your best to build up immune system not to catch colds and prevent any swelling. Treasure your voice and stay healthy! And here is a list of advice on how to keep your voice unique and healthy:

  1. Say not to smoking.
  2. Drink enough water (which is up to eight glasses a day)
  3. Drink less coffee; switch to regular water.
  4. Make sure the humidity in your environment is at least thirty percent.
  5. Sleep enough.
  6. Train your vocal cords on a regular basis.
  7. Do not use artificial mouthwash or anything else that can irritate or make your throat dry.
  8. Get enough vitamins.
  9. Do not shout. Try to speak in a quiet voice whenever possible. Of you need to talk to a lot of people, use a microphone to save your voice.
  10. Avoid whispering as it is as bad for your voice as shouting is.
  11. Sing more to warm vocal cords and stretch hem up.
  12. Have a fresh egg every morning.

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