Brits have revealed some of the top characteristics that make a “good” voice to listen to – including being distinctive (37%), captivating (27%), and having soothing tones (22%).
A study of 2,000 adults found that almost four in five (79%) say a calming voice helps to put them at ease.
And when it comes to their own voice, 59% say it has been impacted by a health issue – with two-thirds of those (67%) saying they didn't truly appreciate what they had, until they lost their voice for a period of time.
The survey also revealed the top 25 best British celebrity voices – with Sir David Attenborough, and Stephen Fry, topping the list.
More than seven in ten (73%) believe a celebrity's voice plays a large part in their overall success and appeal – while 78% feel an iconic voice, that people know and like to listen to, can be a powerful tool to spread important messages.
Other British stars who ranked among the nation's favourite voices include Sir Sean Connery, Dame Judi Dench, and Absolutely Fabulous star, Dame Joanna Lumley.
Nearly half of those polled (43%) said these celebrity's instantly recognisable voices are what make them so iconic – and 27% appreciated how quintessentially British these voices are.
Professor Silke Paulmann, head of Psychology Department at University of Essex, and spokeswoman for Jakemans, which commissioned the research, said: “Our voice is as unique as our fingerprint – it forms part of our identity and signals so many facets of us, including information about our age, sex, and personality.
“But it is also a powerful tool in that it tells others how we feel, from expressing anger to love – and when we listen to someone else’s voice, a range of feelings can be elicited in us.
“A calming, soothing voice helps us overcome upset, and a powerful, motivational voice can get us going when we need some encouragement.
“The beauty of the voice is that it doesn’t require us to pay close attention to it, either. Our brain picks up on voice cues within milliseconds, and we form impressions about others based on these cues.
“And in the UK, we are blessed with an array of celebs whose voices really need no introduction. All of those who have placed highly in this list have the power to transport you to a different world just by uttering a few words.”
She added: “The results of the survey nicely align with existing research which shows how powerful voices can be.
“In addition to affecting our wellbeing, voices can also affect our behaviour – listening to a soft, encouraging-sounding voice can make us feel good and comply with instructions, while a harsh, pressuring-sounding voice can make us feel anxious and react with defiance.
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“However, sometimes our voice can be impacted by factors outside of our control, like the weather or illnesses, and we lose the ability to communicate in our unique way that is fundamental to our identity.
“It’s incredibly important to protect our voice – as, without it, we lose a part of who we are. Staying hydrated, or resting our voice when we can, are great ways of protecting it.”
The research, via OnePoll, found that, of those who have experienced a voice-related health issue, almost a third (31%) were forced to take time off work, or cancel social commitments, due to the problem.
When remedying issues such as a sore throat, hoarseness, or loss of voice, throat lozenges are the most popular choice of treatment. And 55% will rest their voice as much as possible on the road to recovery, with 46% keeping it hydrated.
Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper, from Jakemans, added: “As many Brits have realised, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone – and that’s certainly the case when it comes to your voice.
“But like any part of the body, it is so important to look after and rest your voice as well, especially if you’re feeling under the weather.
“Which is why we want to support people with our lozenges that release natural menthol vapours to soothe the symptoms of a sore or tickly throat, helping to keep airways clear.”
TOP 25 BRITISH CELEB VOICES:
- Sir David Attenborough
- Stephen Fry
- Sir Sean Connery
- Dame Joanna Lumley
- Dame Judi Dench
- David Tennant
- Sir Michael Caine
- Liam Neeson
- Sir Trevor McDonald
- Sir Tom Jones
- Brian Blessed
- Idris Elba
- Sir Ian McKellen
- Hugh Grant
- Tom Hardy
- Dame Maggie Smith
- Nigella Lawson
- Dame Helen Mirren
- Daniel Craig
- Graham Norton
- Dame Julie Andrews
- Ewan McGregor
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Sir Elton John
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