Nobody likes excessive noise; it’s distracting, annoying, and at times even harmful. Sometimes, loud sounds are inevitable, but we shouldn’t want to endure them on a daily basis.
Now, what if the noise doesn’t come from our environment, but from us? What if we happen to be too loud without actually being aware of it?
Surely, it must have happened to a few of you — you get passionate about a topic, and before you know it, people are shushing you. They’re using hand gestures and politely telling you to lower your voice. And while it may get embarrassing for you, it’s a genuine problem and they have the right to ask you to be quiet.
So, if you happen to be a bit too loud sometimes and want to fix it, this article is here for you. Reading through its passages, you may learn why you raise your voice without realizing it and, more importantly, what you can do to get it under control.
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Potential Causes for Being Too Loud
Lack of Control
Some people are not assertive by nature. They tend to be a bit more passive than others, which shows in their everyday communication. These individuals often slouch, don’t ask questions, and avoid eye contact. And when they do get a chance to speak, they can end up talking a bit too loudly.
Assertiveness is a trait that can help people in various ways, especially at the workplace. However, people who are not assertive usually assume that raising the volume of their voice is the way to go. They might feel like they have some control over the conversation if they try to drown out every other voice in the room.
If you’re an anxious person, talking to others will already be a bit difficult. After all, there are lots of emotions bubbling inside, and your body will likely produce a bit more adrenaline than normal. The direct result of that is loud, fast, and incomprehensible speech.
Of course, your loudness may also be a coping mechanism meant to calm you down during anxiety attacks. Once again, it’s a question of control, but instead of controlling the conversation, you’re trying to reign in your own condition.
Now, let’s step away from anxiety and move to the complete opposite end of that personality spectrum — narcissism.
We’ve all been there. How many times did you run into that one person who loves to brag about their feats and achievements? And as they brag and boast, they become so loud and vociferous that you can’t bear to listen to them anymore.
People who are selfish and egocentric tend to ignore the needs of their interlocutors during conversation. And they don’t just display these traits through loud speech. More often than not, they will interrupt you mid-thought, ignore your questions, or outright mock your opinions.
Some households are simply louder than others. For example, you may have been raised by parents who spoke loudly for one reason or another. Alternatively, your home may have been near an area with lots of noise, such as the train tracks or a power plant. To put it simply, raising your voice was a necessity because you couldn’t hear your family otherwise.
In the modern, urbanized world, such families are more common than you think. In fact, it has become such a problem that people are looking for effective solutions to drown out the noise from their neighbors. And while noise-canceling headphones and white noise machines help mitigate the issue, they’re not the perfect solution. If you’re raised loud, you have to work hard on keeping yourself quiet.
All people are different, especially on the fundamental, biological level. Some have stronger throat muscles than others, or a higher lung capacity. Such individuals quite literally cannot help how they were born. After all, you can’t use cosmetic surgery to thin down muscles and trim the lungs.
Alternatively, you may be talking loudly because of an impairment. Your hearing will naturally degrade as you grow old, but you may also have an undiagnosed condition that needs treatment. With limited hearing, you will naturally speak more loudly than others since you aren’t aware of the volume of your voice.
Lack of Attention
As stated a few paragraphs above, you might have grown up in a loud family, picking up their traits along the way. However, your current loudness may stem from a completely different situation within your household. Namely, maybe you didn’t have any opportunity to express yourself, or you didn’t get enough attention as a child.
It happens quite frequently; certain parents don’t focus on their child, leaving them feeling a bit neglected and deprived of attention. On the other hand, maybe they actively suppressed the child from speaking its mind. If the child stays quiet for most of its underage life, they will want to grab as much attention as possible as adults. That often results in speaking louder than everyone else in the room and constantly yearning for others to focus on them.
Having Something to Prove
Of course, even a relatively mundane reason can be the cause for loudness. Namely, you can try to out-voice your peers simply because you’re trying to prove a point in a conversation. In other words, you feel as if your argumentation isn’t enough and that you have to shout your point out for emphasis.
This behavior is not necessarily aggressive, or even a sign of a pathological need. It could simply be a tick that comes with the situation. After all, there are also people who do the exact opposite. In other words, they purposefully speak in a lower register, slowly, and with heavy emphasis on certain phrases. The main goal is ultimately the same: listen to me and don’t prevent me from getting my point across.
Feeling More Important Than Usual
At face value, this point seems similar to the one we made about selfishness. After all, the same basic components are there:
- An individual is talking loudly over others, drawing attention to themselves;
- They are often boastful and nearly always avoid hearing the other side out;
- They are loud specifically so that their interlocutors think of them as the most important people in the room.
The main difference between outright narcissism and simply feeling more important is the frequency. Namely, a narcissist would behave the same no matter what type of register they use. On the other hand, people may only raise their voice when they expressly feel like they’re the most important person in the room. In other words, they won’t always be loud and boisterous, and may, in fact, be a generally quiet and reserved individual.
Sometimes, the simplest answer is the correct one. Maybe you’re going all-out with your voice because you want to hide the fact that you’re shy, introverted, or even suffering from a personality disorder.
Once again, we have a fairly common coping tactic here. Shy individuals often want to put up a face of confidence. Therefore, they try to act more open and outgoing than usual, which results in speaking loudly. What’s more, if you press them on the matter, they can turn even louder due to embarrassment or fear.
Mitigating the Noise: List of Solutions
Volume Level Variation
One method of becoming a bit quieter than normal involves so-called volume training. If you think you’re too loud, experiment with its volume. Try speaking in a whisper at first, and then raise it as necessary. You can buy a decent dictaphone recording device and compare your current voice level with the one you use during practice.
Once you have the desired level in mind, test it out on a few listeners. Don’t be afraid to ask for their opinion and adjust accordingly. When you finally decide on an optimal volume, use it over a period of several months and only raise it at certain intervals. In time, that volume will become the default.
Asking For Help
As stated above, having a friend help you with your voice is crucial. Even if you record everything and try to do it yourself, you’ll still need a fresh pair of ears to notice the difference. After all, your own ears are used to your voice, volume and all, so you might not even register any changes, try as you might.
Of course, you can also go a step further and hire a voice coach. These professionals will give you some of the most valuable tips on improving your speech, cadence, and, most importantly, volume. In addition, they can help you track your changes in the most efficient ways.
One With the Group
People often talk loudly during group discussions, especially if they’re spending the night out with friends. For example, when you’re at a bar or a club, outside noise will affect your hearing, so raising your voice is inevitable. Plus, it’s normal that friends within a group will “compete” for the chance to add something to the conversation. That will include interruptions, talking over others, and even getting louder mid-laughter or frustration.
There are ways you can mitigate that behavior while you’re in a group. For instance, instead of shouting over someone, raise your finger or your hand as an indicator that you have something to add. Next, when it’s your turn to talk, make your point brief and easy to understand. That way, you’ll avoid others butting in mid-point, which can prompt you to raise your voice and continue speaking.
Communication Skills Over Volume
Conversations can quickly become heated and result in lots of shouting. As a speaker during these situations, the last thing you want to do is shout over the person you’re talking to. Not only is it unproductive, but it will only contribute to your voice issues.
With that in mind, you will want to practice some useful conversation skills, including:
- Assertive stance
- Positive disagreement
- Saying No
- Ending on a quiet note
Let’s go over all four. Being assertive without raising your voice is a powerful communication tool. You can get your point across quickly and quietly, but make sure that you say it in such a way that the person understands what you mean. Furthermore, your body language must be congruent with your words; don’t slouch or avoid eye contact, and stay as firm and calm as possible.
Positive disagreement is fairly simple; let your conversation partner know that you don’t agree with their point, but that you still respect them as an individual. The same goes with simply saying no to a specific point — instead of a shouting match, just refuse to entertain their argument and stick by your decision. And if you see that it’s about to escalate, feel free to abruptly end the conversation and walk away, saving your vocal cords the extra stress.
Reducing Environmental Noise
Your home environment may be noisy by default. For instance, you could have loud neighbors, or there might be animals roaming around and howling. Alternatively, the sound of shoes clapping against the hardwood floors could annoy you. And let’s not forget dozens of other sounds around the home, like the clank of dishes, the click of doorknobs, the rustle of fabric, etc.
When you have all of that noise surrounding you, you’re bound to speak up, so it’s a good idea to soundproof your home properly. Not only will it contribute to your effort to speak more quietly, but it will also provide a host of different health benefits.
Listening Over Speaking
By now, you know how crucial it is to practice speaking quietly. However, it’s just as, if not more important, to spruce up your listening skills. More often than not, disagreements arise from people simply not paying attention to what the other party is saying. By listening to them carefully and considering their points, you can plan your response and then reply to them in an equal register, calmly and assertively.
How to Deal With Loud Talkers
With all of the solutions listed above, now you know how you can reduce the volume of your voice. But what if you’re the quiet one of the group? What if there’s someone else who just can’t seem to lower their voice in a social setting? Well, there are a few ways you can deal with them, so let’s list off a few of the most effective ones:
- Be polite when addressing the issue; shouting over them will only encourage more shouting;
- Be considerate of their situation; maybe there’s a reason behind such behavior;
- Consider the context; your interlocutor may be extra loud that day because of a concrete situation that happened recently;
- Talk the matter over with them; don’t be afraid to raise your concerns with your loud friend. And, of course, remember to be a friend first and a critic second, as that will get you the best and most lasting results.
Reducing Your Own Loudness: Final Thoughts
Nobody likes being considered the loudmouth of the crew. By practicing daily and trying to reduce the volume of your voice, you will improve your life on both the social and the individual levels. Furthermore, you might even acquire a few new skills along the way that will make you an amazing communicator going forward.
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