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 the Sternocleidomastoids (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. So it follows that, by relaxing the neck muscles, you lower your voice.
One recommended way of doing this is by making the neck muscles stronger. Stronger muscles are more capable of meeting their daily demands and therefore more able to remain relaxed 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 the floor and slowly nodded my head from horizontal to vertical, tucking in my chin – a bit like doing a sit-up with your neck.
And it worked. Here’s a chart I made with Vocular Pro.
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. Prior to doing the neck exercises, my median pitch was about 105 Hz. Once I started, my voice shot up to 113 Hz. It stayed high for a week, before it deepened to the current pitch of 89 Hz. That’s like going from Edward Norton, to Justin Bieber, to Ryan Gosling.
This fits the idea that strong neck muscles give you a deeper voice. The exercises first made my neck weaker, like any other 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, so my pitch dropped.
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.
3. Lower your larynx
Try making a high-pitched noise whilst touching your Adam’s apple (sorry if you don’t have one, but I’m not sure how else to explain this). Did you notice how it bobbed up slightly? Now try the opposite, lowering the larynx as if you’re taking a yawn. You should find that your tone deepens when you speak whilst doing this. I know I do.
This might feel awkward and forced at first, but I’ve found that if I warm my voice up by talking like this for 10 minutes, it seems to loosen my larynx and lower my voice without me having to think about it after. It never hurts when I do this though, so if you feel discomfort in doing this, please stop immediately.
4. Download Vocular
I know I’m biased, but there really isn’t a better app for measuring and tracking the pitch of your voice. Even if you don’t upgrade to get the pitch-tracker and graphing software, you still get seven different metrics and a list of celebrity matches to give you a grounding of your voice depth.
5. Sort out your Posture
Hunching obstructs your ability to breathe from the lower half of the body and causes people to revert to shallow breathing, which raises your voice. Instead, try standing with a perfectly straight back, as if pressed against a wall, and your feet shoulder-width apart. Not only does this free up your lower abdomen, it makes you look more confident and capable as a leader. In fact, status is literally Latin for posture.
Proper posture also allows you to hold your head in the optimal position – chin slightly tucked in, to let your vocal chords hang loose. Charles Dance is really the master of this, so watch how he holds his head and body and take note.
6. 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.
If you’re sceptical about the impact of this, try Vocular. My hydrated voice is often so much deeper that it shares almost no overlap with my dehydrated one – the similarity comes out at about 10%. In fact, I now make a point of drinking a litre of water 45 minutes before going on a date or to an important meeting.
7. ‘Boom’ Your Voice
Admittedly, I haven’t tried this one much, but it’s worked for me in the few times I’ve tried it. The basic method is this:
1.) Slowly recite the words “Bing bong, king kong, ding dong”.
2.) Repeat the first step at a lower pitch (you can use Vocular’s depth tracker to do this).
3.) Repeat again, only at your lowest pitch now.
You’re also meant to tilt your head back as far as you can. I’ve seen opinions vary on this. Some posters suggest you don’t attempt this until after a week of following these steps normally; others seem comfortable with tilting back straightaway. But the important thing is that you don’t do anything that seems like it could cause damage to your voice.
Anyway, I’m not sure whether this loosens your vocal chords, but it seems to deepen your voice in the same way that talking in a busy club does.
8. Elliott Hulse’s Method
This is another one that I haven’t really tried (living in a houseshare makes these things difficult without freaking everyone out). From what I can tell, it works in a similar way to the one above, but also limbers up your body to get rid of the tension. The main video is below:
If you want evidence of its effects, there’s a Reddit thread on the topic.
Matthew McConaughey seems to use a similar method too. You remember that weird chest-beating thing he does in The Wolf of Wall Street?
Well, that was never in the script – Leonardo DiCaprio noticed McConaughey doing it in his preparation for their scene and convinced him to add it to the film. Turns out McConaughey’s always done this as a way of relaxing his body. He loosens up his upper body, lowers his tone.
9. Stop Talking Out of Your Nose
One strange thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of guys who complain to me about their high-pitched voices don’t actually have high-pitched voices. Instead, they have nasal voices, which somehow make even low-pitched voices sound high.
The comedian Richard Ayoade, for example, has a shockingly low-pitched voice – but because most of it comes out of his nose, it sounds whiny and emasculate. In fact, his IMDb page lists a “high-pitched voice” as one of his trademarks…
If you think you might have a nasal voice, try the following:
1.) Recite a sentence like “This is how I speak” – something with no nasal consonants (i.e. m, n, or ng).
2.) Now pinch your nose so that no air can escape from your nostrils.
3.) Recite the same sentence again.
If you notice a change in your voice, your voice is nasal. And if you find yourself struggling to get the words out, it’s very nasal.
10. 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, Clint 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.
11. Yawn (a lot)
I’ve covered this in more detail in another post, but Morgan Freeman has talked about how he deepened his voice to become an actor and named yawning as one of his methods.
I wanted to know what counted as “a lot” so I found a guy in the comments who’d seen results from Freeman’s method. He told me this:
It’s working buddy but you have to be persistent I yawn at least 40 times per day every day for more than three months. It’s been 4 months since I started doing it, and I see results, my friends have noticed it also, and the best part is when I record myself I don’t sound like a damn girl anymore I’m a legit man now 🙂
12. Slow Down Your Speech
13. No Fap
I’ve saved this one till last because I’m admittedly pretty sceptical about it, although I’ve seen enough reports of this online to include it. These guys claim that giving up masturbation has significantly deepened their voices. You can read discussions of it here, here and here – as well as a before/after recording here.