Soft Voice


Voice is one the important elements of speech. Some people are not too concern on how the voice is produced unless it will affect the conveyed message. One of the voice problems is soft voice. It may affect the interaction as the message receiver could not hear the voice of speaker (message sender) clearly.

Levels of voice loudness

Boone, D. R (2000) was given five levels of voice loudness

Level 1: Whispering
Level 2: Soft or Confidential Voice
Level 3: Normal Conversation
Level 4: Loud Voice (20 To 30 Feet)
Level 5: Shouting t

We can identify the suitable voice to be used by looking at the levels.

Factors and causes

The cause of soft voice can be divided into:-

  1. Physical
    Physical factors are more related to the condition of vocal cords. The weakness of vocal cords can contribute to soft voice. The examples of disease which are related to soft voice are :-

    • Stroke or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)
      When someone is experiencing stroke the body become weak. The vocal cords would also be affected and became weak. It can be unilateral or bilateral vocal cord palsy. The weak vocal chords will cause the loudness to be reduced.
    • Presbyphonia
      The aging process can cause the reducing of the elasticity of vocal cords. It happened by increasing of the age. When the elasticity of vocal cords is reduced the voice will become soft. The voice problem due to aging process is called presbyphonia.
    • Cancer
      The individual with cancer can be affected with the voice loudness too. It could occur when they are on chemotherapy treatment. The treatment will make them fatigue and weak. When the body become weak the voice loudness will be reduced.
    • Thyroid problem
      The individuals of post-thyroidectomy are at the risk of encountering voice problems. The voice loudness might be reduced due to the vocal chords palsy after the surgery. They must be referred to speech-language therapist for voice therapy.
  2. Social and psychology
    • Lack of confidence or nervous.
      Soft voice can be caused by personal issues. The nervousness and confidence level might influence the voice loudness. For example, the students will prefer to use low loudness of voice to respond to fierce teachers.
    • Shyness
      The shyness can influence the loudness of voice while speaking too.
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  3. Environment factor
    The environment factor will influence someone personality. It can be family background, area of living or school. For example, the introvert parents will cultivate the shyness and introverted children. They tend to use soft voice while speaking.
  4. Self-awarenessSome individuals with soft voice are not aware on their loudness of voice. They do not think their soft voice is an issue. They would assume that the problem is from the listener who is not listening well.

Strategy on helping the individual with soft voice

How to help the individual with soft voice? Usually, it is depends on the cause of the problems. There are some suggestions of strategy that you can use:-

  1. Identify the loudness of voice
    Voice can be divided into five levels.Iindividuals with soft voice can scale their voice on scale 1 to 10 as below:-
  1. Vocal warm-up
    We can use this technique before we speak. The technique involves:-

    • Rotating the shoulder
    • Shaking the hands
    • Massaging the cheek and neck
    • Shaking the head

    The breathing technique is also important. You can try the technique by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Make sure the shoulder is not moving. Good breathing control can contribute to the optimum voice production. It also helps us to be more relaxed.

  1. Open mouth
    The individual with soft voice can use open mouth strategy to increase the voice loudness.

    • Counting
      Try to count 1 to 10 with two way of mouth opening viz wide and small mouth opening. Do it in front of the mirror. The audio or visual recording can be used to listen back the suitable of voice
    • Discriminate the voice
      The voice need to be differentiated by listening. Then, you can choose the suitable voice loudness. Use it in sentence or short story text.
  1. Posture
    The soft voice might be due to lack of good body postures. Therefore, the good body posture might help them to produce the suitable voice. It involves:-

    • Standing up straight
    • Chest-up
    • Facing straight
    • Shoulder stillBy this posture, try to say several words with wide mouth opening.
  1. Visual Feedback
    This technique involves the usage of graphic or the instrumental visual feedback (e.g: computer). They can see and monitor on which voice loudness level that is appropriate.

The multiple combinations of techniques more help the individual with soft voice to improve their loudness of voice.

In conclusion, the soft voice is a voice problem that can be treated. The individuals with soft voice can be referred to speech-language therapist for further management. The more important thing is that either they want to improve it or not.


  1. Boone, D.R & Wiley, K.D. (2000), The Boone Voice Program for Adults
  5. When Having A Quite Voice Hampers Your Social Success, 2015.
Last Reviewed : 28 August 2020
Writer / Translator : Haryani bt. Harun
Accreditor : Fairus bt. Mukhtar
Reviewer : Nadwah bt. Onwi