Why do we lose the sound of our voice when we whisper?

The science behind changes to your voice when you whisper is certainly something to shout about.

6th August 2015

Asked by: Ellis Arey, Leeds

Why do we lose the sound of our voice when we whisper? © GBZero/iStock

The sound of your voice is created when air vibrates the larynx’s vocal folds. The pitch depends on how tightly these folds are stretched by your throat muscles. When you whisper, the vocal folds are held apart a short way and stretched so tightly that they can’t vibrate. The air passes through in a turbulent rush that creates a mix of lots of different frequencies, which we hear as a high-pitched hiss.

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