Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Flex"!]

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Texilt
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Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Flex"!]

Postby Texilt » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:44 pm UTC

I'm really not sure how to explain this properly. I seem to be able to do something with my brain or head. It's kinda like I can make a sound in my head, the best way of describing it would be that it is a low pitched ringing sound (?). It doesn't hurt and I can start and stop it whenever, but it does eventually become hard to sustain it. its also on the left side of my head/brain sorta near the back. Does anyone have any idea what this could be?

This mysterious phenomena is answered in great detail here: http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/19 ... .Gb.r.html

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Zarq » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:45 pm UTC

How do you start it?
You rang?

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Kewangji » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

This sounds exciting. Is it a thought or a real sound? Could you, somehow, record it? Is it evil? Does it change if you shake your head whilst maintaining it? When did you learn this? Did the ability come with any side-effects, like supervillains? Have you Scienced it?
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Texilt » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

Zarq wrote:How do you start it?


I have no idea how to explain it, Im just able to do it, like moving my arms or blinking

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby JBJ » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

You sure it's not just the sound of blood rushing in your ears?
That's quite common. Many people can do it by raising their eyebrows while keeping their eyes closed. (how many of you just tried that?)
It's not a ringing sound, per se, but it is usually low pitched, almost a rumbling sound.
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Thurid » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:25 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:That's quite common. Many people can do it by raising their eyebrows while keeping their eyes closed. (how many of you just tried that?)


I tried it!

And that does sound interesting (OP), although I don't know what it is, maybe you are going crazy?
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Darkscull » Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

JBJ wrote:You sure it's not just the sound of blood rushing in your ears?
That's quite common. Many people can do it by raising their eyebrows while keeping their eyes closed. (how many of you just tried that?)
It's not a ringing sound, per se, but it is usually low pitched, almost a rumbling sound.


I get that sometimes, although I can't do it on purpose.
I would certainly describe it as a low pitched ringing sound.

Blood is always rushing through your ears, and I guess that there's nothing physical that changes allowing you to suddenly hear it, so I think it's more a case of shifting concentration. It's a constant sound that would be tuned out, but sometimes your concentration could shift to hear it. It may be that you (OP) are just able to do that at will.
Physicists do it in an excited state.
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby TaintedDeity » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

I know what JBJ is talking about and I'd say it's not likely a shift in attention, it's a very definite, rather loud rumbling noise that only appears when tensing up certain muscles. It might be something to do with pressure.
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Darkscull » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:14 pm UTC

TaintedDeity wrote:I know what JBJ is talking about and I'd say it's not likely a shift in attention, it's a very definite, rather loud rumbling noise that only appears when tensing up certain muscles. It might be something to do with pressure.


Ah, then I guess what I hear isn't the blood in my ears, or at least not in the same way as described there. Hmm.
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby meatyochre » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:15 pm UTC

It doesn't really sound like tinnitus, but that's the closest analog I can think of... how weird. I have tinnitus but I can't cause it. It just happens sometimes.

I can squeak my ear though. I'm sure it's unhealthy but it's fun.
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Levi » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

I can change the pitch of my tinnitus by tightening the muscles in my jaw. I can also do the make a sort of clicking noise by moving some sort of muscle in or near my ear (this is probably the same as the squeaking noise above). I do sometimes get a rumbling noise, but it feels more like a muscle vibrating. Maybe I should start cataloging all the noises I can make in my ear.

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby meatyochre » Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:47 pm UTC

Be careful not to overdo it though. TMJ pain is debilitating. Doesn't usually develop right away but over time...
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Aardvarki » Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

Texilt - I can do this too, and have wondered what it is for many years. I've never gotten an acceptable answer. For the purposes of this post, I will be referring to it as "the noise".

I describe the action I perform to elicit the noise as "flexing my brain", as performing the action after a couple seconds does feel very much like tensing a muscle, but the muscle I am tensing feels as though it is within my head.

I can hold the noise for about 15 seconds before I can't sustain it any longer. I recall when I first found out that I could do this, that I could not hold it nearly as long. I believe it's been close to 20 years that I've known that I am able to make the noise.

I've always worried that there would be some dangerous side-effect to producing the noise, like getting a brain aneurysm or something similar. I have not yet noticed any side-effects, and have been making the noise occasionally for many years now.

Also worth noting, when making the noise, it feels as though all external sound is ever so slightly dampened, much the same as when yawning (but not as severe - everyone else notices that sound is dampened in the middle of a yawn, right? I'm not crazy, right?)
...right?

It just occurred to me - about 20 years ago (around the time I noticed that I could make the noise), I was hospitalized for a week for Viral (either Encephalitis or Meningitis, I can't recall which - I was 8yo). I can't recall if I could make the noise before this, or if it is in any way related. I just figured I'd toss it out there.
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radams
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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby radams » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:28 pm UTC

I can do this too. We're flexing the tensor tympani muscle. It's a muscle inside the ear that pulls the eardrum taut, making all sounds quieter. It does this reflexively in response to a loud noise to protect the eardrum. Wikipedia says that "a small percentage of the population" can also control it voluntarily. Lucky us.

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Aardvarki » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:26 pm UTC

radams wrote:I can do this too. We're flexing the tensor tympani muscle. It's a muscle inside the ear that pulls the eardrum taut, making all sounds quieter. It does this reflexively in response to a loud noise to protect the eardrum. Wikipedia says that "a small percentage of the population" can also control it voluntarily. Lucky us.

You sir, are my hero. Thank you. I have seriously wondered what that was for over half of my life.

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby floralandstripes » Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:49 am UTC

i've been doing this for 10+ years. never knew i was flexing my tensor tympani muscle. feel special now.

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Jorpho » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:20 am UTC

Ooh, fascinating. I always thought it had something to do with forcing air through my eustachian tubes.

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Felstaff » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:46 am UTC

I always thought I could control minds with it. Whenever I try to send ESP messages I do it. Up until this point I called it a 'mind storm' or 'mental frequency discombobulator'.
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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Jorpho » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:46 pm UTC

I have to wonder if it's really such a small percentage of the population given that it's so obscure and hard to describe. It makes for a much more subtle way of drowning someone out than clamping one's hands over one's ears and screaming LALALALA.

While we're on the subject, what's the deal with the ability to puff out air from next to one's eyeballs? I distinctly remember being able to do that briefly when I was younger, and I know it's not an isolated phenomenon.

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Fat Zombie » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:18 pm UTC

Aha! So this is what it's called! It's great. I like being able to do it.

Sometimes I like to make the noise sound like the footsteps of a giant dinosaur.
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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Zarq » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:46 pm UTC

Hey, I can do that too! (I think)

I always thought that was something everybody could do :P

edit: I can't really sustain it long though. If I try sustaining it long, I start shaking my head.
You rang?

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Re: Umm, what is this, please help

Postby Midnight » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:43 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:I always thought I could control minds with it. Whenever I try to send ESP messages I do it. Up until this point I called it a 'mind storm' or 'mental frequency discombobulator'.

That does explain why lightning strikes whenever I do it.
uhhhh fuck.

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Josephine » Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:23 am UTC

I think I can do this too. Is the noise a sort of sharp sound followed by a rumble which dies down after a few seconds?
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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Felstaff » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:14 am UTC

I can keep it up for a whole ten seconds (giggidy). I used to do it with my teeth clenched (giggidy) but I would bite down too hard and give myself jaw-ache with the effort (giggidy) but now I can do it with my mouth open (giggidy) and make it sound earth-shatteringly loud (that one is also sexual).

Because I don't watch too much TV live, and rely on torrents/streaming/wonderful-wonderful iPlayer to 'catch up'. So whenever cow-orkers talk about $popular_television_show_I_like_that_I_haven't_watched_yet, I have to employ my MINDSNEEZE to block out the sound as they talk. I'm trying to pinpoint the exact location where it feels the rumbling sound is coming from. At the start it feels like it's in stereo right behind my ears but a little above (that bit of the skull between the temporal/occipital area, but the longer I prolong it, the more the sound moves towards a mono-rumble which feels like its at the very back of my head, dead centre, above the spine.

Either way, it sounds like a storm happening a long way off behind you. The hum of unseen warplanes in the distance on Band of Brothers emulates the closest aural sensation I can think of. Or being inside an aeroplane as it taxis to the runway at a very low speed. Or the hum a cheap tape recorder makes when you try to record silence. Mine rumbles in B♭.
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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby konaya » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:59 am UTC

Felstaff wrote:Mine rumbles in B♭.


That's interesting. I have tried to approximate my pitches too; aside from the rumble, I get two tones at F5 (698.46Hz) and H4 (493.88Hz). The pitches seem to remain constant over time; would be interesting to see if this could aid the tuning of a musical instrument.

Does your tone remain constant?

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby TheDoc » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

Wos - just discoverd fellow ear drummers! Everyone I have spoken to thinks I'm mad! I have been able to do it for at least 30 years and can now sustain 30 seconds before it fades away. I can change both pitch and volume for what its worth....

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Angua » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:59 am UTC

This is only semi-related to this topic, but I thought it was cool when I found out about it. Otoacoustic emmisions are sounds made by the ear itself and can be used to assess hearing in newborns and children who can't tell you if they can hear!
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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Levi » Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:51 am UTC

...

Wouldn't making noises and checking to see if they react work just as well?

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby tastelikecoke » Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:42 am UTC

The accuracy of the response would be problematic since infants move their bodies for any reason. as wikipedia says:
wikipedia wrote:test for hearing defects in newborn babies and in children who are too young to cooperate in conventional hearing tests.

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby 98whistler » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:38 pm UTC

ha i cando this too in primary/elementary school my teachers used to think i was insane what is your longest time doing it mine is 30 seconds

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Wallydraigle » Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

Can anyone else do this with sufficient force to "pop" their ears? At least, I can do both voluntarily, I'm not sure if they're related.

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Derek » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:20 pm UTC

This sounds like something I have always been able to do, though I can't say for sure if the descriptions match my own experiences. I can do a thing (presumably moving some muscle) that pops my ear (like Wallydraigle described), and causes a cracking sound (Josephine may have described this?). If I continue to hold it, I'll hear a low rumbling sound.

However, I would not describe it as effectively blocking any external sound. I can still hear clearly while doing it. I can also hold it for pretty much as long as I want, though it becomes uncomfortable.

So it sounds like this could be the phenomenon people are describing in this thread. I've never given it any significant thought though.

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Re: Umm, what is this... [Solved! "Tensor Tympani Muscle Fle

Postby Arbiteroftheiphones » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:03 am UTC

Finally! I was looking for an answer to this for ages. Hmm. So the ability we all seem to have is rare. Interesting. Can any of you try this? Flex your muscle, and speak while doing so. Your voice is amplified, interestingly enough. Also, try and close your mouth and pinch your nose, and then blow through your nose. You should feel some pressure. Now use your muscle, and the pressure should be gone. This has helped me with scuba diving a lot, and on planes.

Thanks for posting!

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