Everyone receives sound waves in their ears. These usually come via the air, but sounds can and do travel differently through different materials. Normally we hear our own voice through our jaws and heads as well as through the air and our brains form an impression of how we sound based on that information. When we hear a recording of our voice, however, it travels only through air so the pattern does not match with our brain’s previous experience of how we sound.
Sit in a circle with a group of friends, with one person blindfolded in the middle. Take turns clapping and ask the blindfolded person to guess where the sound is coming from each time.
They will probably be fairly accurate when claps come from the sides but less so when claps come from directly behind, directly in front or above them.
Connect each set of two funnels with a 2 m piece of reticulation hose.
Hold one of the funnels in each pair over one of the ears of the blind–folded person. Point the other funnel wherever you wish. Ask a friend to whisper into one of the funnels and ask the blindfolded person where the sound is coming from.
Be sure to take a turn as the blindfolded person — it’s quite a strange sensation.
Talking to Yourself
Record each friend saying a few words. Play the tape back for everyone to hear and ask people what they think they sound like.
Most people think their own voice sounds strange but that everyone else’s sounds normal.