Whether it’s an evolutionary trait that is resurfacing, a sign of the times (people who are too tired or lazy to read) or a trend that’s here to stay, the marketability of the human voice cannot be denied. From audiobooks to podcasts and beyond, the human voice is becoming a more significant medium for the transmission of information online than ever before. Amazon and Google might be leading the change. However, many text-to-speech platforms nowadays use artificial intelligence to mimic a natural human voice while still delivering a controlled audio output.Ever wondered why a natural human voice is considered an important aspect of the increasing value of the text-to-speech market? What role does voice play in the rising importance of audio content? What is it that makes the human voice so marketable?
We can answer these questions by delving into why the human voice allures us.
Remember lectures from college and school days? The drone of the professor’s monotonous voice, the stifling atmosphere as you tried to sit still? How did you keep listening because reading from the book would have been even worse?
A survey showed that many people believe our ears to be our most relied upon sense after our eyes, and it shows! We would much rather sit through a lecture than read a lengthy text ourselves; voices keep our attention far better than words do.
Humans are naturally attuned to others’ voices. It’s how we learn to speak a language for ourselves. From a young age, we pick up the languages spoken around us as we grow up. Even if we are learning in the later stages of life, linguistics experts encourage us to be immersed in the sounds of a language. And that has been proven to progress our learning far more than simply reading from a textbook.
In essence, we can say that voices hold attention far better than text, and many other stimuli. Thus the human voice can generate more engagement between two people than other forms of communication.
Oration in Numbers
In politics and various other fields of life, people often flock to a good orator, and there’s an excellent reason for it. Good orators interact with us through their voices, tell us stories, and keep us hooked.
These hallmarks are what give voice and audio content another edge over traditional content, and that is human connection. At our cores, we are all social beings, and we love to converse and hear stories.
Here’s a fact which further clarifies that engagement. Human hearing is most sensitive between 2000 to 5000 hertz, which is the range that consonants and other emphasized sounds fall into. Our consonants form the details of words and sentences, and it is these details that we are biologically programmed to pay the most attention to.
A good orator banks on the major ways we connect to voices
Emotions: Voice modulations are vital to drawing any listener in. They convey the speaker’s emotions and. An emotional appeal works by generating sympathy in the audience and is an oft-utilized strategy in marketing. Perhaps you might have experienced an emotional connection while reading some parts of this article itself. Emotions are evoked through voice modulation; any voice which doesn’t modulate adequately is perceived as ‘monotonous’. And may often bore you immensely or even put you to sleep. On the other hand, a well-modulated voice can even act out different parts of a story or anecdote, far more engaging.
Pacing: An even pace of speaking shows us that the speaker is self-confident and sure of the information and opinions they are sharing with us. This increases our acceptance of their voice and message. But better speakers can adapt their pace of speech to emphasize certain points or draw attention away. A good example of such an orator is John F. Kennedy, who greatly used pacing to affect his many speeches. Many other politicians, such as India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, pace their voices to hold their listeners’ attention. Text-to-speech software has consistently output audio at a set rate, closest to an average of 140-150 words per minute. Which is regarded as an optimum speed for listeners to be able to absorb the speaker’s message. But that may change as software are trained to sound more human-like.
The call of the familiar
The majority of us like things from our childhood and are resistant to change. Here again, we can find a connection to voices. The languages and accents of our childhoods are most familiar to us. It is far easier for us to process something which is said in our native language and accent.
This is why there is such an immense push for developing text-to-speech platforms that support multiple languages and accents. We at Listen2it recognize this trend of localization, which is why Listen2it offers audio in 75+ languages. Localized audio will appeal to listeners and aid in processing any messages, whether informative or persuasive. People have admitted that they do their thinking in their mother tongue, a habit ingrained in them from their childhood. And hearing a voice talk to them in their language, in their accent, will make them comfortable, easing them in decision-making, making them more attentive to the speaker, and opening their mind to the message being conveyed.
Our Connection with Voice
Our hearing is one of the most sensitive of our senses. It keeps track of pitch and amplitude and timbre and tone. We have already discussed how we can find an emotional connection with voice through tone. Still, the timbre is how we differentiate voices and identify which ones are familiar to us and even which ones are more attractive. A voice could have the same amplitude and frequency, but you would still be able to tell your friend’s voice from a stranger’s by its timbre. In fact, research suggests that nearly 75% of blind voice-to-face matches would be correct.
In essence, when hearing a voice, you can visualize the speaker as if they were having a conversation with you. This increases the sense of interaction with the speaker and thus allows you to feel connected with what is being said.
Voice and Text-to-speech
Text-to-speech platforms have invested in deep learning and other artificial intelligence to shift their audio output from sounding tinny and robotic, sounding as life-like and sympathetic as possible, ensuring maximum engagement, maximum persuasion, and maximum sense of connection. Although the robotic voice may have sounded futuristic in times gone by, it is no longer appealing to the audio content consumers of today.
Voice has been one of the most important ways of communication for humans since times undocumented. And its importance is greater than ever in this era of extreme connectivity. In the race for new media platforms, voice undoubtedly has an immense allure for content consumers and represents a great opportunity for content creators. We at Listen2it hope that you become part of this journey to spread our voice across the world.