Everyone deals with stressful moments in their life. From experiencing work-burnout to dealing with strife in our relationships, we can’t avoid it.

This stress can manifest itself in various ways. Classic symptoms include headaches, interrupted sleep, persistent tiredness and chest pains, but further signs include spots and other skin issues, jittery limbs and under eye circles.

Now, new research has found that being stressed can change your voice, too.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, asked 111 people aged between 19 and 59 to complete voice diaries over a period of seven days.

Recordings of people speaking every evening after work were analysed by researchers over the course of a week. The participants were asked to report on both the stressors they experienced that day and their perceived stress levels.

Distinct changes were identified on the days people reported more stress factors, researchers found. The participants spoke quicker and with more intensity when they had strains that day, regardless of how stressed they said they were feeling.

In other words, we don’t always know how stressed we actually are – but our voice might be giving the game away. And the reason for those changes?

Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which leads to the production of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, Dr Markus Langer, a study author from Saarland University in southwest Germany, explains.

This has an impact on several bodily functions, including our voice.

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