I recently had the pleasure of getting interviewed by Natasha Mitchell, host of All in the Mind. To be honest, I can’t bear to listen to the interview – the sound of my own voice grates against my ears, like fingernails on a chalkboard.*
I know others have a similar aversion. But why is that? I don’t mind looking at visual reflections (photographs) of myself, and yet auditory reflections make me wince. It’s worth pointing out that, until the 20th century, humans had never heard recordings of their voice. While we’ve always had visual reflections – Narcissus looked in the still water – capturing the sound of your voice as others hear it requires modern technology. Is the brain evolutionarily unprepared for a self-reflection in sound? Or is my voice just particularly annoying?
*Part of the problem, at least for me, is that I had a bad stutter growing up. When I listen to myself talk, I can still hear those places in the sentence where my stutter is trying to reassert itself. Even if I don’t stutter, I always sound, at least to my ears, like I’m about to start.