If you stifle a sneeze, you run the real risk of damaging your eardrums or sinuses or even getting an ear infection. The exhaled air from a sneeze exits through the nose and mouth at speeds of about 100 miles per hour. When these exits are closed, a sneeze has nowhere else to go but into the “Eustachian” tube (which connects the nasal passages to the middle ear) and on to the eardrum. Consequently, it is possible that a very strong sneeze could propel air into the eardrum forcefully enough to rupture it. Fortunately, it is more difficult to pinch the nose closed and shut the mouth during a sneeze than one might imagine. Still, it pays to be careful.
P.S. Stifling a sneeze carries the possibility of pushing infected mucus through the Eustachian tube and back into the middle ear and possibly developing into an infection.
EAR & HEARING CLINIC brings you this column on hearing healthcare in order to better educate our friends here in Elmira on the importance and benefits of taking care of their hearing, thus enhancing their quality of life. We offer comprehensive services including hearing tests and evaluations, individualized hearing instrument fittings, and follow-up care. As registered members of the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario, we are among the highest qualified regulated hearing health care professionals in Canada. “Hear the Sounds of Life.”