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Home » What Our Voice Reveals About Our Health: Dr. Anthony Law (Transcript)

What Our Voice Reveals About Our Health: Dr. Anthony Law (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of laryngologist Dr. Anthony Law’s talk titled “What Our Voice Reveals About Our Health” at TEDx Talks 2023 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Power of Voice

I believe that everyone in this room, all of you, are voice scientists. And as voice scientists, each one of you has the power to understand the health and the wellness of those around you. You see, I’ve dedicated my life to understanding how sound is correlated with health. I’m a surgeon and a scientist, and voice is a huge part of both of those practices.

You see, voice is our primary means of engaging with the world. It takes our innermost thoughts and turns them into concrete and shareable packages. But let’s be specific here. Voice is separate from speech.

Speech is the words that we choose and how we articulate it. While voice, voice is the result of the sounds that we make. Many of them turn into words, but some don’t, like ahs, ums, and sighs. Hopefully I don’t do any of that.

Because voice is a superset of speech, it contains more information than just the words that we choose. Henry here, one of my friend’s dogs, illustrates this point beautifully. You see, Henry doesn’t understand speech, but he does understand the intention and the emotion behind voice. “You bad dog!”

Understanding Vocal Cues

“You bad dog! What are you doing, you bad dog? Oh, you bad dog!” You see how Henry wags his tail and stares intently at the speaker, even though she’s saying pretty harsh things to him?

He’s responding to her voice and the emotion behind it. You see, we all unwittingly share a little bit of who we are and what we feel through the cues in our voice. Through our inflections and vocal modulations, we can portray anger, fear, frustration, but also happiness, friendship, and love.

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