You may be required to sound sick in order to portray a sick character in an audiobook recording or maybe it is other reasons. I am not the one to judge. Regardless, there are a couple of tricks that will help to accomplish a sick voice.
To create a believable sick voice you will want to incorporate a bunch of different nuances into your vocal performance which will all be a part of your perfect impersonation. Namely, to sound sick try to add nasal and hoarse qualities to your voice. On top of that, slow down while speaking and integrate occasional coughs and runny nose sounds.
Now let’s look at how to do all that.
How to mimic congested nose?
It isn’t hard to mimic a congested nose as you don’t even need to mimic it. Make your nose sound congested by plugging it with some toilet paper or other remedies.
It will immediately add the same vocal qualities that pertain to a congested voice and you will start to sound significantly more nasal. Also, you can read more on how to achieve a nasally voice in this article.
If you are having the flu it’s typical to sound hoarse. You can create a hoarse sounding voice by applying a couple of methods:
- Screaming in a high pitched voice
- Humming in a extremely low pitched voice
- Adding vocal fry to your voice by limiting air flow through your vocal folds.
Integrate occasional coughs when mimicking a sick voice. Just don’t overdo it. A rare cough will sound convincing while going over the board might remove some realism from it. Be subtle.
To convey a rough sickness try coughing lightly at first but then go all out with a few rough coughs. When coughing hard face away from the microphone and put your hand in front of your mouth to make it sound as if you are trying to suppress it. It will make it sound a bit muffled and more realistic.
It’s not hard to pretend that you have a runny nose. Try sniffing your nose once in a while. Similar to coughing don’t overdo it to not make it exaggerated. For even more of added effect blow your nose in front of a mic.
Lethargic and quiet
Being sick makes you feel tired. Therefore, when speaking don’t use much energy. Make yourself sound as lethargic as possible and keep your voice hushed. This will show that you feel tired and also will help to attain a bit deeper voice which is often a result of having a sore throat.
Do it in the morning
When we sleep phlegm accumulates on our vocal cords making them thicker and our voice sounding deep and groggy. Also, you naturally speak slower and more sick like when you just wake up. So, use it to your advantage and perform your best sick voice in the morning, right when you just woke up.