Like the mute button on the TV remote control, our brains filter out unwanted noise so we can focus on what we’re listening to.
Technology is growing by leaps and bounds. There are apps to count our calories and steps. Alexa and Siri to answer any question that comes to our mind, from weather, to traffic, to playing our music requests.
But when it comes to following our own speech, a new brain study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that instead of one homogenous mute button, we have a network of volume settings that can selectively silence and amplify the sounds we make and hear.
I hope some wise person develops an app that people could hear their own voice and conversations. I know we have recorders and the good old Dictaphone. But I mean without pressing any button to record, we could hear what we said at will.
No one wants to be told anything, yet everyone sees a mirror and has to accept what they see in the mirror. Similarly, there should be an audio mirror/reflector. No lectures or sermons, please hear yourself and decide what you want to do about it.
Instead of enrolling for soft skills classes, this would be far more effective. If people could only hear how (good or) bad they sound, they would surely make amends to sound better.
There are some people who repeat the same story or line a hundred times. They are not 90 years old; they don’t have dementia or Alzheimer. Maybe they love to hear their own voice.
But sometimes think about others around you, who are not in love with your voice. You are not Elvis Presley or Lata Mangeshkar, that I could hear you on repeat mode.
There are some who sound just rude and harsh. While some are so loud, that you can hear them with a plane flying over your head. If one has to tell them that they are rude or loud, they will deny it completely and may even be offended. There are valid reasons why actors and speakers, rehearse in front of the mirror. It is so important to see how we look, our body language, our facial expressions, how we sound, dialogue delivery, tone and voice modulation.
That’s why the end product is so good. When I started the Happiness Chats last year, it was a real learning curve for me. It was about 30 minutes of a pleasant chat with a guest who I would invite. I did do a recording prior to the chat to hear how I sounded and see my expressions.
We are not Amitabh Bachchan who can sound good all the time.
- If only we could hear ourselves speak
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