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Why Can’t You Hum While Holding Your Nose?

Humming requires air movement through your vocal cords and out of your nose to create sound. When you hold your nose, you block the airflow, silencing the hum. It's a simple yet fascinating interplay between physiology and acoustics. Have you ever wondered what other vocal tricks our bodies can or can't do? Join us as we uncover the mechanics of our voices.

Humming a tune now and then is something we all do, but have you ever wondered what's actually going on inside your body to create such a noise? When a person hums, air passes between the vocal cords in the throat, causing them to vibrate. In order to hum, you'll have to have your mouth closed so that the sound emerges from your nose. But what happens if you try to hum while holding your nose?

Go ahead, try to hum while holding your nose. Undoubtedly, you'll find that it just doesn't work. Sure, you might be able to create some type of sound for a second or two, but you’ll be forced to catch your breath in order to hum properly. Why? When you hum, you're actually exhaling, so if both your mouth and your nose are closed, the air can’t escape. As a result, the vibration in the vocal cords stops.

Hmmmmmmmmmm ...

  • Unlike singing, humming is always wordless, as the sound emerges from your nose.

  • According to the Cleveland Clinic, humming pushes air into the nasopharynx, which is the uppermost section of the throat that connects to the nasal passage.

  • Research suggests that humming may actually be helpful in keeping the sinuses healthy by improving ventilation, which can help reduce the risk of developing sinusitis.

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    • When you hum, you are actually exhaling, so if both your mouth and your nose are closed, the air can’t escape.
      By: pixelcaos
      When you hum, you are actually exhaling, so if both your mouth and your nose are closed, the air can’t escape.