Sometimes, bodies make sounds that are loud and strange.
Some of these sounds happen so often that we never stop and think about why they happen.
So what do these noises really mean?
Hiccups are caused by spasms in the diaphragm, the thin muscle that separates the chest cavity (where the lungs and heart are) from the abdominal cavity (where the digestive tract and other organs are contained).
These spasms cause an interruption in your breathing as you inhale (1).
This condition is typically caused by a full stomach, but other causes include (2) :
- Drinking carbonated beverages
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating too much
- Excitement or emotional stress
- Sudden temperature changes
- Swallowing air
- Anxiety, stress or excitement
Hiccups typically only last a few hours, but in some cases, they can last for days or even months.
Extreme hiccuping can be as sign of :
- Central nervous system problems, such as cancer, infections, stroke, or injury.
- Problems with the chemical processes that take place in the body (metabolic problems), such as decreased kidney function or hyperventilation.
- Irritation of the nerves in the head, neck, and chest (vagus or phrenic nerve).
- Mental health problems.
The best way to cure hiccups is by holding your breath for 10 long seconds, quickly drinking a glass of cold water or eating a teaspoon of sugar. These remedies increase carbon dioxide in the blood to get your diaphragm back up to speed.
2. Popping Joints
Contrary to popular belief, cracking your knuckles doesn’t cause arthritis.
The sound you hear is actually caused by air cavities that form in the liquid in your joints. This liquid is what keeps joint lubricated and flexible.
As the joint is opened up, a gas-filled cavity is formed within the fluid. When the joint goes back into its natural position, the gas is forced out, creating a popping sound (3).
However, if your joints grind together or feel painful, it’s important to meet with your doctor or naturopath.
3. Growling Stomach
Although your stomach often rumbles when you’re hungry, it isn’t always caused by hunger.
The grumble you hear can be caused by gas, particularly when you eat a lot of sugar (5).
The sound can also be caused by muscle contractions which push down food to push through your digestive tract. This process is called peristalsis (6).
These contractions help break down food and squeeze out pockets of air, creating noise. They also occur in between meals to sweep out any food leftover after your stomach is emptied.
These vibrations also let your know that it’s time to eat.
To avoid the sound, eat small, frequent meals. If you experience a growling stomach often, it may also be a sign of medical conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
4. Ringing Ears
Tinnitus a condition characterized by hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds.
It often goes unnoticed throughout the day but becomes noticeable as you try to go to sleep. Although it’s often experienced by people suffering from hearing loss, many hearing-healthy people experience the condition (7).
It can be caused by exposure to loud sounds, infection, wax build-up, injury or tumors.
The condition also tend to worsen if you drink alcohol, feel stressed, smoke cigarettes, drink caffeinated beverages, or eat certain foods.
If the condition bothers you or persists, speak to your doctor or audiologist.
5. Whistling Nose
This strange sound is typically heard as you exhale. It’s caused by excess mucus, so it often happens when you’re sick or experiencing allergy symptoms.
The best thing to do is to breathe in warm steam and blow your nose frequently to clear your nasal passages.
In some cases, the whistling can be caused by injury, particularly by tears in the cartilage of your septum.