The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: What muscles do I use to "click" my ears to equalise pressure?  (Read 23055 times)

Offline Quantumcat

  • The Kitty Down Under
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 894
    • View Profile
I've heard that people usually chew chewing gum to relieve the pressure in their ears when planes land. I don't need to do that, I can push a muscle in my ear and it makes a very quiet clicking sound that only I can hear. Are there many people who can do that? What is the musle that I push and what is it meant to be for? (if it's something else besides relieving the pressure in your ear) and why can't everyone push it? I've always been curious about that.

Am I dead? Am I alive? I'm both!
« Last Edit: 18/07/2008 12:23:23 by chris »


 

Offline Corbeille

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 205
    • View Profile
I can do that as well!!!
Is it just me and my ozzy moggie friend? I'll bet everyone can do it if they try.  
Stan Laurel would flap his ears occasionally, did he have better developed ear muscles than the rest of us?



you can't crack me I'm a rubber duck!
 

Offline qazibasit

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 344
    • View Profile
well it is said that chewing gum while take off and landing opens the eustachian tube and hence air is drawn in the middle air and hence the pressure in the middle air and the atmosphere is maintained other wise in case of take off your tympanic membrane will be pushed outward and while landing it is pushed inward and ppls who are sleeping in this time have a chance of severe pain of ear or barotrauma.
 

Offline HD

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
HI all....sorry for the first (nothing said ) entry. I also can click my ears any time any place. I always have had the "special" talent if thats what we want to call it. I am now 43 years young and am starting to get headaches in back of my ears. I am wondering if anyone else gets them.Being able to relieve the pressure just by clicking is kinda cool.....but it does have its draw backs. Sometimes when I blow my nose my ears plug up.....do yours ? Its nice to see that im not the only 1 that can do this. I have never met anyone else that could.Even my doctor gives my a strang look when I mentioned it to him. Its nice to meet ya's .
 

Offline Santi2c

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 57
    • View Profile
me too
 

Offline DJFluid

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
I can do that too and my wife thinks it's weird. If she puts her ear up to mine she can hear it too. I don't even know how long I've been able to do it, but I remember when I first noticed, and it was really annoying. It happened any time I swallowed food or a drink, but now it happens all the time and I don't even notice anymore. It's really helpful because I can clear my ears when I'm flying, and sometimes I can even click one or the other if I try hard enough. I can't believe there's not more sites about this because I thought more people would have this. Cool to know I'm not the only one though.
 

Offline bulkspin

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Not only can I "click" my ears to achieve equalization whilst diving or flying, but I can "hold" the muscle so that the internal sounds of my body (breathing and heartbeat mostly) are very loud; easily competing or drowning out external sounds. It takes a varying degree of effort to hold it this way, but a few minutes steady is no problem. I have found this hard to explain to others. If I really want to drown out almost all external sound, I can "hum" a tune internally - it is extremely loud and I can really feel my ear-drums vibrate. I cannot control which ear this occurs in, usually both, but with less "pressure" it will go to one or the other. The controlled "click" that you describe is what opens the internal pathways. Also, looking at medical forums and they talk about the brain misinterpreting signals and presenting them as sounds etc. Wrong! These are real sounds and their sources are obvious. Anybody else out there "HOLD" your hearing so that the sound of a breath is very loud and the heartbeat is like a "bass drum"?
« Last Edit: 01/11/2011 20:00:18 by bulkspin »
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8132
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Quote
there's a muscle called the tensor veli palatini that's responsible for tensing the soft palate and opening the Eustachian tubes when you yawn or swallow. I think those of us who can "click our ears" without moving anything else must have somehow learned how to control that function independently.
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-89004.html

I suspect it's inherited rather than "learned", like tongue rolling.

Quote
... the Eustachian tube, which is normally closed, instead stays intermittently open. When this occurs, the patient experiences autophony, the hearing of self-generated sounds. These sounds, such as one's own breathing, voice, and heartbeat, vibrate directly onto the ear drum and can create a "bucket on the head" effect.
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Patulous_Eustachian_tube

« Last Edit: 01/11/2011 20:49:58 by RD »
 

Offline dana9marie

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Not only can I "click" my ears to achieve equalization whilst diving or flying, but I can "hold" the muscle so that the internal sounds of my body (breathing and heartbeat mostly) are very loud; easily competing or drowning out external sounds. It takes a varying degree of effort to hold it this way, but a few minutes steady is no problem. I have found this hard to explain to others. If I really want to drown out almost all external sound, I can "hum" a tune internally - it is extremely loud and I can really feel my ear-drums vibrate. I cannot control which ear this occurs in, usually both, but with less "pressure" it will go to one or the other. The controlled "click" that you describe is what opens the internal pathways. Also, looking at medical forums and they talk about the brain misinterpreting signals and presenting them as sounds etc. Wrong! These are real sounds and their sources are obvious. Anybody else out there "HOLD" your hearing so that the sound of a breath is very loud and the heartbeat is like a "bass drum"?

Yes!  I can do that too, and you described it absolutely perfectly.  Now I'm curious if you, and others, can do this as well... in addition to clicking to relieve pressure, and holding the muscle to hear the inside of my body, in the exact same way I can also hold a slightly different muscle (which feels to be right beside the clicking muscle) to actually deafen external sounds.  So when a smoke alarm goes off, or a really loud motorcycle roars by, or the music on my ipod suddenly blasts in too loud, I can activate this muscle and save my ears from hurting and/or being harmed.  I've often thought that this is extremely handy (particularly since I'm a musician!) and I wonder if this is part of an evolutionary process.  Think about it, a few hundred years ago there were very few noises around that were loud enough to damage our hearing, and nowadays there are countless.  I'm really curious, can those of you who can do this ear clicking thing, also do the ear deafening thing?  Btw, I'm also thrilled to find this thread as I've spent my whole life wondering if there were others out there who could control these ear muscles.  I also have receieved a lot of odd looks when I've spoken of this 'talent' throughout my life :)
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8132
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
...  So when a smoke alarm goes off, or a really loud motorcycle roars by, or the music on my ipod suddenly blasts in too loud, I can activate this muscle and save my ears from hurting and/or being harmed.  I've often thought that this is extremely handy (particularly since I'm a musician!) and I wonder if this is part of an evolutionary process. ...

Evolution came up with the stapedius reflex to protect hearing from sudden loud sounds  ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stapedius_reflex
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage

 I can also hold a slightly different muscle (which feels to be right beside the clicking muscle) to actually deafen external sounds.  So when a smoke alarm goes off, or a really loud motorcycle roars by, or the music on my ipod suddenly blasts in too loud, I can activate this muscle......


Now you have me so jealous. Oh how I wish I could do that when 'er indoors kicks off.
 

Offline Lmnre

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 178
    • View Profile
I click my ears (ie, open the Eustachian tubes) by merely starting to yawn. Apparently this draws down the back of my tongue, which affects the tubes and causes them to open.

Wow, look at all the methods to prevent "middle ear barotrauma".
 

Offline gavelini

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
I am a fellow "ear clicker".  I'm like the rest, I've always been able to do it.  I thought it had something to do with my alien abduction or transplantation.  I can listen to my heart and breathing anytime.  It works like biofeedback, sometimes I can actually slow down my heart rate.  I can also "pull vacuum" which attenuates loud outside sounds, but it's uncomortable.
 

Offline techmind

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 934
  • Un-obfuscated
    • View Profile
    • techmind.org
Is what you describe not just the "Valsalva maneuver"?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valsalva_maneuver

I do this too. I probably discovered/learnt to do it as a child - when I had a lot of ear trouble. Equalising the pressure helps get the maximum sensitivity from my ears - and I need all the help I get get  :-(
 

Offline IttayKo

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Im with al of you! I also think its kinda weird [xx(] . Im 12 years old and i keep getting this annoying click too! I want to ask if you also can't do this click whene theres lots of pressure in your ears. This morning it happened to me, it was worse than ever and i couldn't stable it. i was like that for a night+. tell if your'e like me!
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums