How is every person’s voice unique?



The title says it all.

I was just wondering how it’s possible that every single person’s voice is so unique to each other? It’s all the same systems, the same organs, so how does everyone sound so different? I understand it to a certain extent, but would like to have it explained!

In: Biology

Same organs but all shaped differently. The size of your voice box, thickness of your vocal chords, length of your throat, size and shape of your mouth, size, shape and positioning of your tongue, even your sinus passages, all play a role in how your voice sounds. And all of that is different for everyone.

You could say the same with faces, right? All of us have the same systems and the same organs (for the most part), but tiny variations in each of those combine to give each of us a pretty unique face.

The same thing goes with the organs that make up your voice – throat, vocal cords, mouth, tongue. Each of us has slight variations in those parts – slightly thicker vocal cords, a slightly longer neck, a slightly narrower throat, a slightly bigger tongue, etc. Each of those tiny changes (and more!) are going to create a little bit of variance in the sounds that we make. And when you put that together with the fact that we speak many different languages and therefore get used to certain sounds, oral postures, and whatever, and there are gazillions of possible combinations that give each of us a unique voice.

I’d be more surprised if they were not? Pretty well everything about the human body is unique

Just got out of explaining this to my mom. basically its down to a) how the person speaks, like what pitch, inflections and accents they have, and b) what I think youre mainly looking for, this thing called harmonics.

Nearly every sound is more than just one pitch. There are other pitches that resonate as well, and these are different depending on the container and the way the sound actually happens. These pitches are what cause a guitar and clarinet to sound different; or, two different people to sound dofferent. It’s also why every whistle sounds the same. a whistle has no harmonics, no other pitches beside the basic tone the whistle is at.

Also the way we speak is a product of our micro regions, where we’ve been, experiences and exposure… makes it virtually infinite.

On top of what the other posters have said here – our brain is also highly trained to notice these differences in everyone’s voices and be able to pick up on even very subtle ways to identify individual voices.

Our voice organs are more complex than most animals but this isn’t unique to humans either. Almost every species will have individually unique “voices”, we’re just often not as skilled at telling the difference. When you hear two different birds call for example they might sound the same (or very similar) to you but to that species of bird they would be able to tell each individual apart.

I’m just gonna throw this out there but, what if they’re not actually all that unique? For example, fingerprints have never actually been proven to be unique for all people. In actuality, some people have been documented to share the exact same fingerprints. So, who’s to say that voices that are essentially identical aren’t just as common as people who look almost the same without sharing some nearby ancestry.

I’ve seen a lot of biology posts, but I’ll throw out a more audio based explanation. While we think of our voices as a single audio stream, you can break it down into component parts (using something like Fourier Transforms) that show low/mid/high frequencies the same way music producers can mess around with tracks in a studio. Every voice is a combination of sounds at each frequency, and there can be as many different voices as combinations. And that’s just tone. Once you throw in different accents, inflections, and vernaculars, there are a huge number of combinations. A lot of this is influenced by biology, but people can also clearly train themselves to talk with a certain accent or tone. Identical twins can sound the same because they have the same biology, but also sound different if they inflect differently.