Why Do We Speak Louder Than Normal When Wearing Headphones

Have you ever tried to wear headphones, turn up the volume, and listen to your favorite music? Then, while wearing headphones,  your friend or somebody tried to talk to you. As you respond, your friend got surprised because of the way you speak, and that’s when you realized that you are talking much louder compared to your normal voice.

This situation is normal for people, mainly for those who work as call center agents, people talking on the phone, or simply someone who is listening to music with their headphones. In such cases, it is natural for a person to speak louder because of the need to hear their own voice.

Why do we speak louder?

As we speak, there is a constant feeling that we somehow need to hear our voices. Similar to our example earlier, when we are wearing headphones, we tend to speak louder since it will be more difficult for us to hear our voice. The sound coming out from the headphones are more focused on our ears, which is loud enough to cover the sound when we speak. Because of this, we do our best to increase the volume of our voice to a level we can hear even while wearing headphones.

The same situation goes when you are in a loud concert. The sounds from speakers, as well as from the lively audiences, are contributing to heighten the venue’s noise. That’s why the majority of the people in the crowd tend to speak in a much louder voice. Because they are trying to hear their voice, and hearing their own voice would mean that the other person understands it as well.

These are some of the reasons why we tend to speak louder when wearing headphones. It is not just because of the loud noise, or the music playing in the background. A more specific reason is because of the obstruct hearing. Meaning to say, even if you are simply wearing headphones without played music, you will tend to speak louder because there is an obstruction in your hearing.

We tend to do this because we hear our voices differently compared to other people hearing our voices. So we will speak in a way which is loud enough for us.

Why do we hear our voices differently?

Every time we speak, we try to adjust our voice in a way that is satisfying to us – something we can hear clearly and sounds good. Although when we try to listen to our voice via recording, it sounds much different from when we are speaking. That is why it’s widespread to feel unsatisfied after hearing your voice in a recording since you’re not used to hearing your voice differently.

The reason behind this is when we speak; we hear our voices internally and externally. The usual way to listen to your voice is when you talk, the sound will come out from your mouth, and sound waves will travel to your ears; this is what we call the external hearing. On the other hand, we can internally hear when we speak, due to the vibrations produced by our vocal cords, which travels to the bones up to our heads. Because of this, we tend to hear a much lower voice compared to when we only hear externally.

With this said, when we hear our voices on a recording, it sounds entirely different and quite higher in pitch. It is because we listen to it externally through the sound waves coming out from our mouths.

The same thing goes when we are wearing headphones. Without hearing your external voice, your words would sound weak, and you may not listen to what you say. The internal voice alone is not enough for us to hear our voice since it is merely vibrations produced by our vocal cords. Especially if we are in a noisy area, it would be difficult for us to hear our external voice.

However, since we already know the reason behind this loud voice, we can be more conscious in adjusting the volume of our voice. When speaking with your headphones on, try to talk naturally regardless if you can hear your voice or not. This way, you could avoid talking louder than usual.