If you’re anything like me your sneezes always happen at the most inconvenient of moments.
Whether you’re on an important call, in the middle of a lecture or giving an important work presentation, sneezes always seem to happen at the most disruptive times.
Sneezes are both loud and (crucially in the age of Covid) unhygenic, so can be very distracting.
Below are some great tips that will help you avoid waking up the kids, or causing a commotion next time you need to sneeze.
1. Muffle The Sneeze
The most common way of making a sneeze quieter is to muffle it.
Ditch the tissues and use a thick handkerchief instead, as tissues offer very little noise dampening.
Take your handkerchief and hold it in place ready for the sneeze to come, as it you feel it coming bury your nose in the handkerchief to mute it.
2. Hold Your Breath
If you sense that a sneeze may be on its way then holding your breath can prevent it from happening altogether.
As soon as you sense that a sneeze may be incoming then take a shallow breath and hold your breath for roughly 10 seconds until the need to sneeze has gone.
Also Read: How To Blow Your Nose Quietly
3. Avoid Taking A Deep Breath
When you sneeze the first thing that happens to you is that you breath in sharply.
Then your chest muscles quickly contract and force all the air out of your lungs and through your nose, resulting in a loud sneeze.
The sharp intake of air is largely an involuntary reaction that happens in response to dust or an allergen in the air, however if you are conscious that a sneeze is about to happen then you can stifle this.
Simply trying to close your mouth when you sense that you may be about to sneeze will help reduce the amount of air you intake.
Even if you don’t manage to fully close your mouth this will make a significant difference to the volume of your sneeze.
Less air in means less air will be squeezed out of your lungs and through your nose, so your sneeze will therefore be quieter.
4. Pinch Your Nasal Bridge
You should never completely block a sneeze from coming out as this can potentially cause serious problems.
However you can mute your sneeze without causing any issues by pinching the middle of your nose just below the nasal bone (where the cartilage ends).
5. Clench Your Jaw
When you feel that a sneeze is on its way leave your mouth slightly open and then tighten your jaw.
This will prevent your mouth from opening up fully for a big intake of pre-sneeze air, which will dramatically reduce the intensity of your sneeze.
6. Push The Tip Of Your Nose Up
Sneezes are triggered by irritants detected by the neural network in your mouth, nose, throat and face.
Stimulating the same neural network by pushing the tip of your nose can be a good way of effectively distracting it and preventing the sneeze from happening.
7. Touch The Roof Of Your Mouth With Your Tongue
When you feel a sneeze coming take your tongue and push it hard against the roof of your mouth.
This is another technique designed to distract your nerual network.
If the sneeze still does happen it should be somewhat quieter as airflow into your lungs will be lower with your tongue elevated.
8. Press The ‘Moustache’ Area With A Horizontal Finger
Hold your index finger horizontally and place it in the area between your upper lip and your nose, then push it upwards against the cartilage of your nose.
This will press against the nerve that is responsible for causing sneezes so can be an effective way of sufficiently distracting your neural network to prevent the sneeze from happening.
What Causes Sneezes?
Sneezing is caused by mucous membrane irritation in either the nose or the throat.
The irritation is typically caused by:
- Allergens such as dust, dander, mold or pollen.
- Flu or colds
- Drug withdrawal
- It can also be caused by psychological triggers such as certain smells, plucking your eyebrows, looking directly at a light, air pollution, dry air, spicy food and powders.
Sneezing is our bodies way of protecting itself by clearing our throat and nose of irritants. It’s actually good for you!
So if you have the opportunity to sneeze without disturbing anyone we recommend you go for it, otherwise try out some of our tips above!
What Makes Sneeze So Noisy?
The volume of a typical sneeze varies from person to person depending on two primary things:
- Lung capacity (bigger capacity = louder sneezes)
- The size of their pre-sneeze breath (more air taken in = louder sneeze)
Nostril and sinus sizes can also have an impact on the volume of the sneeze too.
The main factor is the intake of air, a big intake or air results in more air coming out and therefore a far more violent and noisy sneeze.
Lower air intake results in a more subdued, quieter sneeze.
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