My question title may be a little ambiguous, so here's a scenario to explain what I'm getting at.


Say I'm reading a novel, but I'm not reading it out loud, just reading it to myself in my head/mind. That's the "sound" I'm referring to (as distinct from the sound of my voice out loud, or the "sound" of myself thinking). Now, let's assume I don't like the way that "sound" sounds, so instead of reading novels I purchase audiobooks to hear the sound of someone else's voice reading the novel to me.

Sample sentences

  1. John Doe never reads books because he suffers from xyz.

  2. Because Jane Doe is abc, she doesn't like reading books!


Is there a word that describes either a person who does not like how their voice "sounds" in their head while reading silently or a word that describes the condition of someone who doesn't?

  • You're only talking about if the person is reading 1 "silently" 2 "to himself"? Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 2:42
  • No, if they're reading to themselves, but not out loud. So it'd be similar to how your voice sounds in your mind as you're thinking, but it's about how your voice sounds in your mind as you're reading rather than thinking.
    – Monomeeth
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 2:47
  • I made a couple edits that clarify it somewhat, but if you don't like the edits you can roll the edit back. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 2:53

1 Answer 1


The voice that you hear whenever you sight-read (read in your head) is called:
internal speech, inner speech, inner voice, and more specifically, the inner reading voice. If the inner voice heard is different from the reader's normal voice, it is said to be the writer's/author's voice (aka the narrator's voice)

AS YOU begin to read this article and your eyes follow the words across the page, you may be aware of a voice in your head silently muttering along. Most of us do it when we talk, listen, write letters or emails. The very same thing is happening to me as I type these words: a private internal narrative is shaping the words before I commit them to text.

What if we could tap into another person’s inner voice? Thinking of words does, after all, create characteristic electrical signals in our brains, and decoding them could make it possible to piece together our thoughts. Such an ability would have phenomenal prospects, not least for people unable to communicate as a result of brain damage.
New Scientist

From Research Digest

Among the contributors with an internal reading voice, another key theme was whether or not they only ever heard the same voice (this was true for about half of them) or a range of different voices. For those who heard different inner voices, these tended to vary based on the voice of the character who was speaking in a story, or if it was a text message or email, or the voice of the sender. For people who only ever heard the same internal reading voice, this was usually their own voice, but it was often different in some way from their speaking voice, for example in terms of pitch or emotional tone. Some contributors described or implied that their inner reading voice was just the same as the inner voice they used for thoughts.

If the reader strongly dislikes the inner voice they hear, the person could be suffering from auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH)

[…] Some contributors spoke of the voice as distracting or even scary, while others said they deliberately chose the voice they used. You can see why this paper was published in the journal Psychosis. Indeed, Vilhauer said that the insights from her analysis provided some support for theories that say auditory hallucinations are inner voices that are incorrectly identified as not belonging to the self.

  • Wow, the Inner reading voices: An overlooked form of inner speech was an interesting read! I find it amazing that 10.6% did not 'hear' a voice while reading silently, that they just "see the word/sentence, and understand what it is and what it means". I can't imagine what that would be like. And of course, with only a sample of 160, the real % is likely to be different, but that's only an assumption.
    – Monomeeth
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 0:12
  • The other interesting fact was that of those who have an Inner Reading Voice (IRV), 95.5% said it was audible. The issue of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) is also interesting, and I think relates to my question re someone who does not like the sound of their own voice while reading silently. I think I may contact the author and ask them if there is a term for this.
    – Monomeeth
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 0:12
  • @Monomeeth glad you enjoyed reading the links, the subject is quite fascinating. Discovering that dyslexic people who do not hear an inner voice experience greater difficulty in reading was insightful for me.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 8:21

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