How does a brace affect your speech? By a voice over!!!

The quick answer to this question is….it doesn’t, in my experience! As a voiceover it was really important my speech wasn’t affected, let me explain…
Up until I was about 25, I had real straight teeth. Not going to blow my own trumpet too much, but I had a good smile and loved flashing it, thats just sounds wrong, you know what I mean! Id looked after my teeth, followed the dentists advice and my pearly whites were looking good.
As I got older, I started to notice my teeth shifting! Not rally sure what was happening, I spoke to the dentist. After a consultation, he advised that my wisdom teeth were coming through, no jokes about me not being wise enough to have wisdom teeth, thanks! Anyways, long story short, over the next five years, the front bottom teeth had crowded quite badly from where my wisdom teeth had pushed through and the top ones had twisted round a bit and were out of place.
Whilst it didn’t bother me masses, I was conscious of it and decide to look into getting a brace. My biggest concern, being a voiceover and needing to be able to talk properly to earn a living, was how the brace was going to affect my speech.
I researched this lots, spoke to the dentist and friends that had had braces – no one gave me the answer I wanted – a brace won’t affect your speech at all! Most people said, ‘it shouldn’t affect your speech’.
I took the plunge and got a brace, went for a six-month smile brace, its more for looks than proper orthodontic work, and as the name suggests, only takes six months. My thinking was, six months isn’t the end of the world and I could just about cope for six months if my speech was affected.
The day came to have the braces put on, all went well but unfortunately I had a voiceover booking that afternoon. It wasn’t intentionally done like that, the booking was for the day before but the client had to move it. I advised the client I was having braces put on, they were cool with it as needed the script and my voice, for continuity. So it was a bit of a baptism of fire with the braces really.
I’m pleased to say that voice session went really well, considering I had a mass of wire and plastic in my mouth. We listened back to a previous recording and the current one, to compare. You couldn’t tell the difference. Someone even commented ‘when I’m looking at you and can see the brace, I notice it more in your speech than on a recording’.
That booking was for a TV show for ESPN, no one made any comment when it went out. I think a lot of it is as the persons said, when you see someone with a brace, you’re more aware of their speech, but if you don’t see them, you’d never know. The strangest thing for me about having a brace was the feeling  of it in my mouth, very strange. I think that adds to the wearers awareness of it and how they might possibly sound to other people, but rest assured, in my experience anyways, speech wasn’t affected.
If you need a voice over, or have any questions about becoming one, drop me a line here. And, you can hear recent voice over samples here.
Neil
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