How To Make Your Voice Deeper
Five science-backed ways to deepen your voice.
How to Make Your Voice Deeper
A low, resounding voice is associated with strength, masculinity, and reliability. In fact, science has gone as far to show that women find men with deeper voices significantly more attractive than ones with higher voices.
The story doesn’t end at attraction, either. It also has to do with capability.
There’s a reason that the vast majority of famous and powerful men have low, resounding voices — people instinctively infer from their deep voices that these man are competent. That they possess power. This association helps them in their career and social lives, and lets them more easily maneuver themselves into places of high importance.
Clearly, it’s better to have a deep voice than to not. Which begs the question — how, exactly, do you make your voice deeper?
Before we dive into things, a brief warning: this is not easy to do. Most of the tactics involved in deepening your voice take substantial time and conscious effort to implement. But, like anything else, so long as you’re consistent, dedicated, and you practice every day, eventually you too can have that deep, booming voice others long for.
First, biology versus perception
To begin this guide on improving vocal depth, we need to understand two things about both your body and your voice:
- The system that controls your voice includes your larynx, your diaphragm, and your lungs. Each of these components are malleable and all can be adapted over time to improve your vocal depth.
- Actual pitch isn't as important as the perception of pitch. Many people have high base pitches, but are commonly perceived as if they had lower pitches due to the way they fluctuate that pitch over the course of a sentence. To improve this, we're going to learn a bit of vocal tonality theory—that is, the theory behind how your voice changes over time—in addition to how to change your base pitch.
Essentially, we're going to improve to the limits of your biology with (1), and then find creative ways to overcome your natural limitations with (2). Everyone has a different base pitch potential because of the unique makeup of their larynx, diaphragm, and lungs, but that doesn't mean that you can't go farther than that and overcome your limits. You just have to cleverly exploit certain psychological principles behind perception. And that's exactly what we're going to do.
How to Deepen Your Base Vocal Pitch
To start, let's work on ways to improve our biological base pitch. Doing this will let us maximize our natural allowable range of depth and literally make your voice deeper through modifying the structure of your voice apparatus.Since we are quite literally changing our biological make-up here, I want you to understand that this will not be easy. It requires a large amount of effort applied consistently over time. You won't be able to achieve a noticeable difference in a handful of days—results will take weeks, and potentially months to manifest.
However, on the flipside, most of the exercises I'm about to share with you do not require more than ten or fifteen minutes per day. So as long as you can set aside the time to complete each of these once every twenty four hours, your voice will invariably adapt, similar to the way one's muscles adapt in the gym after repeated contraction.
I often recommend that my students set an alarm to repeat at a seemingly arbitrary time of the day. Something like 7:34pm, for example. The novelty of this alarm combined with the randomness of the time will remind you of the importance of these habits, as well as how little time is required to complete them (further reinforcing it in your mind as something worthy of being done).
Enough talk. Here are the exercises:
The first exercise is often done by singers in preparation for a day of practice. But you don't have to be a singer to take advantage of the vocal benefits, including range, depth, and resonance.
This exercise takes just five minutes per day, and involves traversing through a series of scales in time with a piano. It's a good way to warm up the vocal cords to prevent injury from subsequent practice, and it helps you begin stretching and encouraging your larynx to move to highs and lows that it may have never moved to before. As a preliminary exercise, it's exceptional.
The second exercise is significantly longer—10 minutes—and involves consistently lowering your voice over a handful of scales while also making different vowel noises.
These will help you improve the capacity of your larynx, while also teaching you how to use this newfound depth in real scenarios: the different vowel sounds that make up the majority of the words that you use.
Remember, it's one thing to be able to hum a deep pitch, but another entirely to be able to actually use that depth in day-to-day conversation. This exercise will help you with the latter.
Now that we've learned how to lower our voices, we should also spend a bit of time on how not to lower our voices. Take this next step seriously, since it can be the difference between having a strong, vibrant voice well into your 70s versus sounding like this chick.
Why Most People Lower Their Voices the Wrong Way
Most people, when trying to make their voices deeper, try forcing their larynx to go as low as humanly possible in an effort to decrease their base pitch. This certainly works in the moment, but after a short time, they often start suffering from a raspy, itchy throat, and a breathy voice reminiscent of someone who chainsmokes.
This is because in overexerting their larynx, they are causing microtears in the tissue of the throat and voicebox, causing the body's rehabiliation system to kick in and start producing scar tissue. The formation of this scar tissue in addition to the microtears makes your throat itchy, and it permanently reduces your vocal range over months and years.
If you want to truly lower your voice for a period longer than a few hours, that just won't cut it. Instead, you need to gradually improve the flexibility of your larynx so that it can accommodate the extra load that occurs when it moves past what it was biologically 'given' as a set point.
Just like how a weightlifter is technically able to walk into the gym and instantly bench press 300 pounds, so too can you walk into a social scenario and instantly lower your voice—but it is not healthy and certainly not sustainable for more than a short period of time without injury.
Aristotle said "You are the sum of your habits". I'm no Aristotle, but I think an equivalent quote here would be something like "your voice is the sum of your daily voice-deepening exercises".
Commit to the above habits for two or three months and you'll start noticing a significantly deeper voice. So long as you're engaging in the right habits—not the wrong ones (as mentioned above)—you will see steady progress.
Don't be distraught if you don't hear anything right away, and be mindful of how much you're pushing yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a resounding, powerful voice that commands the room and helps you achieve your goals.
How to Deepen Your Voice Using Breathing Techniques
As mentioned previously, there are three components to your vocal system: your larynx, your lungs, and your diaphragm.
The first step (above) taught you how to make your voice deeper by improving the depth at which your larynx can sit. Essentially, we learned how to stretch and strengthen your voicebox so that air resonated in a wider, deeper way.
However, that's not the only way to get a deeper voice. In fact, I would go as far as to say that is actually the least effective technique in getting a powerful, booming pitch. Because although a flexible larynx is important, your voicebox can't do anything unless it receives a certain amount of air.
Simply put, if your larynx does not receive the right amount of air at the right velocity and pressure, it is unable to generate a strong, consistent voice. Instead of sounding like He-Man, you'll start to sound like his girlfriend. The less air your larynx gets, the more likely it is to fall into the default mode of 'squeaky' and 'shrill' rather than 'deep' and 'attractive'.
It goes without saying that this significantly hurts your chances of attaining depth. To fight against this, one must learn how to exhale a greater volume of air in the same amount of time. This provides more air to your larynx, which produces more sound, which makes it easier to deepen your voice.
Thus, your next step is to improve your ability to generate air using your breathing system. This involves two things:
- Learning how to utilize your diaphragm correctly
- Resonating your voice in the correct place for maximum output
Let's start with the diaphragm.
How to Take Deep, Diaphragmatic Breaths
2. Try Diaphragmatic Breathing
Your diaphragm is a thin band of muscle that pulls your lungs down while you breathe in. It helps you take a deep breath.
The problem? Most people ignore their diaphragm entirely, and try breathing with the tiny muscles in their ribcage instead. This makes their voice sound weak, raspy, and high.
Instead, we're going to learn how to take a deep, diaphragmatic breath that fully activates our larynx and enables us to reach greater depths than ever before.
Here's how to do it:
- First, find a mirror that lets you see your stomach and your ribcage. Stand up straight and turn 90 degrees so that you can view your body from the side.
- Put both your hands on your belly, open palm, right around your belly button. Get as much surface area of your stomach as possible.
- Take a very deep breath. Watch how your stomach rises and falls, probably near the end of your breath. Feel it expand in your hands. That's your diaphragm contracting, which forces your lungs to grow to their full volume.
- Now, take a deep breath again. However, this time, try breathing into your stomach first rather than letting it passively fill up over the course of a breath. Your stomach should grow in volume before your chest now, and only when your stomach feels like it's bursting should your chest finally grow a bit in size. This is proper diaphragmatic breathing, and it probably feels very weird to most of you.
I like to think of it like filling up a glass with water. When you take your cup to your tap and turn it on, the water is poured into the bottom of the glass first. Only after the bottom of the glass is full can the water level rise.
This is how you can envision your lungs. When you take a deep breath, the air should start filling the bottom of your lungs first—and to do so, you need to contract your diaphragm and have it suck the air in using negative pressure. Only after the bottom of your lungs are full should the rest of your lungs start to accumulate air.
The reason this is important is because the muscles of your chest are actually quite weak relative to the diaphragm. When you try to fill your lungs from the top-down rather than the other way around, you get a small, mediocre amount of air. However, this begins to oxygenate your lungs, which convinces your brain that it can stop breathing. As a result, you only really get a fraction of the total air volume that is possible.
If, instead, you force your diaphragm to contract and fill the bottom of your lungs first, you get a significantly larger amount of air in your body before your brain is convinced to stop breathing. This greater amount of air can then be used to make your voice substantially louder and more powerful.
Practice doing this every day. Over time (and I mean time — don’t expect to get this for two or three months) it will become your natural mode of breathing. Since you’ll now have more air with which to speak, you’ll be able to speak longer, stronger, and with less rasp on the low end of your vocal register. Less rasp means more of your true, deep voice will come out, which will make you sound more competent and attractive.
How to Change Where Your Voice Resonates
The last major tweak that can help make your voice deeper is changing where your voice resonates in your throat. This is a little-known technique that can not only improve the depth of your voice, but also its general timbre and strength.
A good place to start is by listing the three major vocal resonation centers in the body. The vast majority of people resonate their voice in one of the following three ways:
- Head resonance, which gives your voice a soft, light timbre
- Mouth resonance, which sounds generally high-pitched
- Nasal resonance, which gives your voice a shrill and congested tone, and
- Chest resonance, which makes your voice sound deep and powerful
3. Change Where Your Voice Resonates
The vast majority of people resonate their voices in their mouth and nose. This gives their voice an unattractive, shrill sound. Some call it sounding “nerdy”, but I call it sounding “nasally”. Generally speaking, it's non-optimal in terms of producing richness and depth.
Changing where your voice resonates can be quite difficult, as it's most often a subconsciously learned preference that you've been engaging in for most of your life. However, almost every person on the planet can benefit from this. Chest resonance allows your voice to travel farther, achieve a deeper pitch, and it's healthier for your voice apparatus compared to mouth or nasal resonance—especially when you combine with the rest of the techniques in this guide.
So, how do you resonate your voice in your chest?
In all honesty, I find that the most beneficial way to learn this technique is through video explanation. That's why I've linked a very helpful (and short) series here, which explains the ins-and-outs of resonating your voice, as well as provides you a number of practical ways you can get started right now.
But for those of you who can't watch a video at the moment, I'll pin a few of the key points below:
- Nasal resonation is characterized by a shrill, closed-off, congested sound. This occurs because you artificially constrict your mouth, throat, and voicebox.
- A quick 'hack' to learn to naturally resonate your voice in your chest is to perform a big, long drawn out yawn while exaggerating the sound. Pay careful attention to the feeling of where the sound is being generated from. You'll find that, at the tail end of your yawn, your voice is coming almost entirely from the depths of your chest. This is because yawning forcefully makes your voice resonate lower by pushing down your larynx.
- With a closed mouth, try humming while dropping your tongue farther and farther back down your throat. You'll find that your voice starts small and weak, and gradually attains a strong, masculine quality the lower it goes. This is what you want—deep resonation in your throat and chest—and you can partially achieve it just by keeping your tongue dropped low in your mouth.
Seriously, watch the video that I linked (and it's sequel) and you’ll never sound nasally again—it includes a number of very easy techniques you can use to start to feel where your voice is resonating, and eliminate nasality completely.
How to Make Your Voice Deeper Using Vocal Tonality
4. Adjust Your Vocal Tonality For Depth
Have you ever noticed that some men, despite having relatively high voices, still manage to sound deep and authoritative? Mike Tyson, for example, has had a high voice most of his life—but I'd be damned if he doesn't inspire respect in an interview. Why do you think that is?
I’ll give you a hint. It's not all about the base pitch that Mike Tyson (or anyone else) uses when they speak. A large component in how you're perceived is the way that you fluctuate your pitch over time.
This is kind of cheating, since it won’t lower your base vocal pitch. But it will provide the impression that you’re speaking with depth, which is almost the same thing.
Shameless plug: if you want an in-depth guide on how to do this, I wrote about it here. It goes into incredible detail on how to change your vocal tonality, including examples, techniques, and more.
But for those of you that just want the cliffs notes, I'll include a brief summary:
- Generally speaking, in English and most other languages, there are three types of vocal inflection: upwards, neutral, and downwards inflection.
- Upwards inflection is where you finish a sentence at a higher pitch than you started with. It makes you sound like you’re asking a question, and is associated with weakness, indecision, and a lack of assertiveness.
- Upwards inflection is thus what you should avoid as much as possible in everyday speech, since it implies you’re weaker or lower status than your conversation partner. It also makes it seem like you’re asking for permission — a big no-no in terms of social value.
- Downwards inflection is when you finish a sentence at a lower pitch than you started with. It makes you sound like you’re making a request or giving an order, which naturally associates you with leadership, strength, and power.
- In the interest of making your voice sound deeper, then, this is what you should try and do every time. This inflection implies you’re strong and high status to a conversation partner, which can provide the perception of competence and confidence. And since confidence and competence are both associated with a deeper voice, you can give people the illusion that your voice is deeper than it actually is by finishing off every sentence a little lower than you started with.
- Neutral is… well… neutral. Your voice remains approximately the same pitch over the course of a sentence. This isn't bad—certainly nothing like upwards inflection—but you'd do better to stick with a downwards inflection whenever you can.
5. Get Vocal Surgery
Get Voice Deepening Surgery (Last Resort)
If you’ve tried everything and nothing else has worked, and you’re incredibly desperate to change the character of your voice, you can always elect for surgery.
I personally don’t recommend it, since it’s incredibly invasive, a little dangerous, and overall very expensive, but if you feel that this is what you need, go right ahead. Don’t let anyone’s judgement stop you from going for your goals.
I will say one thing — surgery works. Afterwards, your voice will be substantially deeper than before. And your wallet will probably be substantially lighter… but at least you’ll have a cool voice.
Last step: savor your deep, flavorful voice
Congratulations! If you’ve diligently followed the advice above on how to make your voice deeper, and you’ve stuck to daily vocal exercises for at least two to three months, your voice is likely now 10–20% lower than it was when you started. That’s deep, playa.
Go chug a beer! Or go parasailing with a horde of beautiful women. Or maybe pull off that sick underwater weld you’ve been waiting for. Basically, go do whatever manly men do. Because now you sound like one of them.
I sincerely hope this guide was helpful. I've long wanted to formulate a written piece on how to deepen your voice for my clients, but I've never been able to find the time. This represents several years of in-depth research on psychology, physiology, and more.
If you enjoyed what you've just read, consider checking out a few of my other articles below.
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