If you came here from Google, you’ve probably already been through a heap of articles on how to get a deeper voice. The problem with these is, none of them seem to be written by people who are actually speaking from experience. With each point, you have no idea whether you’re getting tried and tested advice or just guesswork they’ve plucked from the internet.
As someone who has actually deepened his voice (from about average to low), I wanted to take a different tack and discuss the methods that worked for me, alongside a few others. Most of these I’ve tried, but not all of them, so where I don’t have first-hand knowledge I’ll link to discussion boards to show you real people talking about these techniques and how they worked for them.
Just to get it out of the way, none of this is medical advice. I trust you to follow these tips without giving yourself an injury – and if you feel in any way like you might, you should stop immediately. Right, here we go.
1. Strengthen your Neck Muscles
I’ve seen a lot of talk about this online, so I wanted to start by confirming here: this truly does work. Actually, it’s my favourite method of all of them.
If you put your hand on your throat, you’ll feel two long muscles which run down from behind your ear to your collarbone. These are your sternocleidomastoids, and when they get tense they tug on your vocal chords, resulting in a higher note. Relax these and, logically enough, your voice gets lower.
One recommended way of doing this is by making the neck muscles stronger. Stronger muscles are better at meeting their daily demands and therefore less likely to tighten up throughout the day. I was interested in this idea, so I thought I’d test it out.
Every day, at 2 o’clock and in the same room, I recorded a sample of my voice and wrote down the figures. I chose 2pm because I wanted the ‘morning effect’ of my voice to have worn off and I knew I wouldn’t have been drinking alcohol around that time. After the recording, every other day, I’d do 3 sets of 20 reps of crunches, where I lay on my bench and slowly nodded my head from horizontal to vertical, tucking in my chin – like doing sit-ups with your neck.
And it worked. Here’s a chart I made with Vocular.
As you can see, by all four metrics, my voice did deepen over time. My matches completely changed too.
More compellingly, my voice actually got higher before it got lower. It starts at about 105Hz, then shoots up to 113Hz and stays high for a week, before it gradually deepened month after month to the current pitch of 89Hz. That’s like going from Edward Norton, to Justin Bieber, to Jon Hamm.
This fits the idea that strong neck muscles give you a deeper voice. The exercises first made my neck weaker, like any muscle when you start training it. So my voice got higher. Then, as I continued with the exercises, it got used to the strain and became stronger, and my pitch dropped.
I should add that I also stretch my neck to relieve any tension that might build up with the exercises. So if you’re thinking of doing this, that’s something to keep an eye on. In fact, this guy on Reddit seems to have a routine which worked really well for him and seems to focus more on stretching.
2. Breathe from the Diaphragm
Ever noticed how your shoulders bob up and down as you breathe in and out?
If you’re have, you’re doing it wrong. This is a thing called ‘shallow breathing’ and it’s something most people are guilty of. While it seems as good as any method, this kind of breath shifts effort to the upper half of the torso, putting tension on the neck and vocal chords.
Instead, breathe with the muscle that’s designed to do it: the diaphragm. As you inhale, try to shift the effort downward so your stomach flexes out while your shoulders remain completely still. Feel as though the air is being summoned by your abs.
I know it’s quite hard to follow in writing, so Eric Arceneaux does a very good job of explaining this.
This one correction had the greatest impact on my voice depth – but, like any bad habit, it requires a conscious effort to overcome it. You may want to try something to remind yourself when you’re creeping back to your old ways. One vocal coach has created the Singing-Belt to do this, although it’s expensive so using kinesiology tape or a tight T-shirt might work better.
You can try this one for yourself and immediately see its effect. Open Vocular and enable the Pitch Tracker in Settings, then speak to the microphone in your normal voice and see what numbers come up.
Now try talking in a breathier, more aspirated kind of way, as if you’re speaking through a sigh. If you need someone to copy, Tom Hiddleston’s a pretty good example.
4. Drink More Water
Please don’t skip over this section, because it’s a lot more important than you might think. You know how the depth of your voice is partly caused by the size of your vocal chords? Well, dehydration literally shrinks your vocal chords. The loss of water equates to a loss of mass, leaving you with thinner, squeakier vocal chords.
And, strikingly, most people are dehydrated. A recent study found that 75% of Americans fell far below the recommended daily intake, which, again, gives us a majority of people speaking with higher voices than they ought to be.
The solution is to make things easier for yourself. If you work at a desk, get a jug (one that can hold 3-4 litres) and fill it every morning. Not only will this encourage you to drink more because it’s there, it’ll bring the water to room temperature which stops the throat contracting from the cold.
5. Be More Monotone
I’ve noticed a few names that come up time and time again when discussing voice depth. One of these names is Clint Eastwood. But the weird thing here is that, in terms of pitch, Eastwood doesn’t have a deep voice. It’s about average.
However, one thing Eastwood has in spades in monotony. This is a very manly trait – in fact, a recent study found that men with monotone voices tend to have more sexual partners than those who don’t. So it may be that the masculinity of a monotone voice tricks people into thinking that voice is deep as well.