Why you sound like a God… In the shower – Sounds Like Science Vol. 2
Have you ever wondered why you sound like an opera god/goddess when you’re in the shower,
but when you try to sing to your friends, they cover their ears? It all has to do with the acoustics
in your bathroom (and a little bit of psychology).
If your bathroom is like most bathrooms, it’s mostly hard surfaces. There’s tile, ceramic, marble,
porcelain, etc. Hard surfaces like these ones are good at reflecting sound waves and bounce them
around the room before they die out. This creates a reverberation effect and ultimately puts you
in the middle of a resonance room.
Trapping lots of sound waves in a small space to resonate amplifies the volume and makes your
voice sound more powerful because there are overlapping sound waves. Now, since these waves
are being made at different times and travelling different paths, they also come back to your ears
at different times and overlap differently than they would if they were only moving one
direction. This creates the effect of a richer sound while some notes hang around longer and
others die out. The same phenomenon also helps your voice sound better by covering up off
notes and blending together to even out the pitch overall. The hard surfaces in your bathroom
also have relatively low resonant frequency, meaning that the lower end of your voice (which
tends to be more stable and powerful) will resonate with those objects and will seem boosted.
Of course, in addition to the acoustics, there’s the added psychological reason for sounding better
in the shower. When you’re alone and no one is watching you, your confidence is elevated. The
same way we dance like fools when no one is watching, but stand against the wall when they are,
we tend to belt things out in the shower instead of quietly mumbling the words to our favourite
So go ahead and belt out some Beyoncé while you’re buck naked in the shower and there’s no
judgement. Your friends may not believe you’re a better singer in there, but we do.