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A stimulus leading to hiccup

  1. May 31, 2009 #1

    fluidistic

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    Sometimes when I touch my external auditory canal I get hiccup. I first noticed it when I was 15 years old. I'm now 22 years old and it is still happening. I have it periodically, meaning that I can touch my external auditory canal and not getting hiccup for months. But then it appears again, I don't know why. For instance I'm suffering from hiccup since about 20 minutes now, because I cleaned my external auditory canal. It's quite annoying!
    I've once read that many people react by sneezing when their eyes are exposed to a light of big intensity. Maybe it's related to my "problem"?
    I've searched on the Internet about hiccup and ear, and never found anything like I described. Is it normal at least? Do you experience the same?

    Edit : I found something : from http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1113/what-are-hiccups-and-why-do-we-get-them :
    Strange.

    Edit 2 : I'd be glad to know why it happens. The phrenic never doesn't seem to be linked to the eardrum at all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
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  3. Jun 2, 2009 #2

    Moonbear

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    I don't know about hiccups, but people do somewhat commonly experience things like cough or gagging when touching the ear. Some of the cranial nerves "hitchhike" around the face, so when you stimulate the nerve in one location, sometimes you also are hitting a few fibers of a nerve that normally goes someplace else.

    The phrenic nerve also has some loops shared with the vagus nerve. While the phrenic nerve is a spinal, not cranial nerve, the vagus is a cranial nerve with some branches that "hang out" near the ear. There's also a lot of individual variation in how these nerves are arranged around the face, so that accounts for why some people might experience something like hiccups when touching their ear, and others experience nothing like that.
     
  4. Jun 2, 2009 #3
    I have used a cure for hicupps, that for myself has been completely effective after at most 3 attempts in best memory. Attempt counts have been about 2 dozen, I estimate.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  5. Jun 3, 2009 #4

    fluidistic

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    Very good explanation, thank you.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2009 #5

    Moonbear

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    Glad I could help. I was hoping I wasn't oversimplifying since you did seem to know a few things about the nerves involved to be able to name the phrenic nerve.
     
  7. Jun 3, 2009 #6

    fluidistic

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    Well I learned about the phrenic nerve the same day I posted here, thanks to Internet. hehe
     
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