What is a deaf voice? Does anyone else have it?

Random topic of the day but I have always wondered what do people mean by deaf voice when we talk? I can talk and pronounce words properly exept for the high frequency sounds like Sh, Ch, etc. I struggle with these. I remember my family asking me to say them and said that I was not talking properly, people at school told me to talk properly but little did I know I was hard of hearing. When I was picking up my little boy from school, she did not think to ask me but a lady who picks her child up from the same school asked someone whom I know if I am deaf… she asked her what makes you say that? She said because the way I speak, she cannot explain but my voice is very weird. I am loud when I talk but I feel like I sound normal… clearly not! I am passed caring about my hearing aids being on show but when I get comments on the way I talk and my voice, I feel that really takes it too far. I remember years ago I had a moving man to take my furniture and even he said I had a very strange deaf voice, am I deaf? “Sorry I hope I dis not offend”… well you did but thanks for really making my day. I feel so embarrassed now because I am quite a talkative person, but the other person I talk to is probably thinking my voice grates on them :frowning:

You really shouldn’t worry about it. Everyone sounds like however they sound like and it’s just part of how you are. No-one is bothered, although they might be interested.

People who have a big high frequency loss when they learn to speak do often speak in a characteristic way unless they were given extensive speech therapy at the time. It’s not just the high frequency sibilant sounds, but also other speech sounds because of how they start and stop I think. But it’s not important unless people have difficulty understanding you.


Yes, I would not worry about it either, nor take offense.

When I started school I was given speech lessons as everyone thought I was simply feral growing up in the goldfields of Western Australia as far as my speech went, helped somewhat I think but later in school I was called a fog horn as apparently I talked loud, and still did not pronounce words as others did.

It took me a couple of decades before I realised I was not hearing as others were, and all that time no one said anything. Hang on, I’m deaf, maybe they did and I didn’t hear it :slight_smile:
Looking back now, I wish someone had said something that would have helped me figure it out sooner. I recorded my voice in the past and yes, I now realise I had the deaf voice, yet when I sang as a child in a choir it wasn’t there!

Human sensory perception is such a complicated beast, and our hearing relies on not just what we hear but all the visual (and tactile) cues we receive from lips, body language etc. It is normal that our speech would be impacted if we are young deaf as we humans mimic, if we are deaf to whatever degree, mimicking speech as part of learning becomes so much harder. It is natural that you would sound different.

Own your differences, it is what has made you you (said nicely).


OH GIMME A BREAK!!! Think about all the folks out there who speak with “accents”. Do folks make a point of telling them that? I totally feel for ya, craftycrocheter. I think those kind of comments go beyond the acceptable line of conversation, interaction, communication and empathy for starters.

I live in an OCEAN of people from all countries of the world: black, brown, yellow, red, blue-white, pinkish white, coffee bean, caramel. I love them ALL. The variety of humanity is what keeps me alive and on my toes. Yes it’s challenging to deal with slang and accents all day long, but if I had to single out a person to say, “You talk weird!” I’d be standing in the sun for 12 hours with a line 3 miles long.

NEVER give up your desire to talk, socialize and be out there with people. Try to hang on to your sanity - maybe come up with a droll line to take the tension out. I’d probably pull my hair back and say, “Look, if YOU were born with cinderblock ears like mine, you’d be asking ME how to talk, period, K?”

Yes, if someone is profoundly deaf from birth - and perhaps even if they are at that level late in life - we may slur a word or miss a fricative f’petessake. But again, what about everyone else out there in the Big City? Are they not also speaking different than us? :thinking:


Hi, I’m a bit late to this discussion, but have only just joined.

I worked as a speech & language therapist until I retired. Deaf speech usually relates to issues with pitch, volume, intonation as well as difficulties with fricative sounds (f,s,th etc) which tend to be produced as plosives (b, t, d etc). It’s a bit more involved than that and as you can imagine it relates to the degree and type of hearing loss.

Do not in any way feel guilty or ashamed about your speech. I think that people with significant levels of hearing loss do a remarkably good job with their speech given what information they are missing. Personally I would rather listen to deaf speech than purely lazy speech which some people find fashionable.


Well said!!! I don’t know if it’s a generational thing that has always been there or what, but “lazy speech” is VERY tough and exhausting to deal with.

I have speech that comes from high frequency loss. A skilled musician once told me my voice was round but not bright. When I asked what that meant, he told me the low frequencies were there but the highs were missing. So I was not surprised when an audiologist told me she could detect my hearing loss in my voice. She said people would mistake it for a regional accent and not to worry about it. I would never have worried about it anyway. The only frustration I have is when I dictate to voice recognition apps. Words that start with S get spelled with SH. And I am hard as hell for people to understand in noise.


I’m told that I talk better when I get a better sounding hearing aid.
I guess our voice directly reflects our hearing loss

I’m sure it is correct that people speak how they hear. I once read about an audiologist who would ask students to listen to a HOH person speak. He would then ask the students to draw the person’s audiogram.

1 Like