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Re: New Scientist Question

On Wed, 21 Nov 2001, Thomas G Brennan wrote:

> Greg, when the eustacian tubes open, the middle ear space effectively becomes a
> part of the auditory mechanism thus enlarging that mechanism by quite some bit.
> When one yawns there is an effect a bit like sticking one's head in a barrel
> which is caused by the tube opening and this is what primarily causes the
> perceived effect to the music.
Now, I would like to add a little twist here:
A couple of weeks ago I had a nice little ringing tinnitus in my right
ear. (Luckily it went away after a week, just when I started to get
worried about going crazy).
So, I observed that the loudness of my "built-in-sine-wave" increased when
yawning (no change in pitch, however). My physician said the the cause
of tinnitus is usually some inner ear or auditory nerve injury. If so,
how could the loudness be altered by a middle-ear "operation" (yawning)?
Or maybe yawning made all the other background sounds softer and thus
tinnitus seemed to get louder?

               Laszlo Toth
        Hungarian Academy of Sciences         *
  Research Group on Artificial Intelligence   *   "Failure only begins
     e-mail: tothl@inf.u-szeged.hu            *    when you stop trying"
     http://www.inf.u-szeged.hu/~tothl        *