May 14, 2013

Woman Drinks Beer Through Her Ear

Now I am not sure if this woman is actually drinking beer through her right ear at a Czech beer festival as reported by Huffington Post, but is it anatomically even possible?

Well the answer is that it IS theoretically possible though highly improbable.

In order for this to occur, there must first be a hole in the eardrum. Given an eardrum hole, beer can be sucked up into the ear canal (1), through the hole in the eardrum (2), into the middle ear space (3), through the eustachian tube (4), and down into the throat.

Now why would it be highly unlikely that the women is drinking beer through her ear?

1) The eustachian tube opening is VERY small (< 2mm). Trying to suck beer through the eustachian tube would be even harder than trying to suck beer into the mouth through a coffee stirrer.

2) The video would have been more believable if she pinched her nose up when drinking beer into the ear.  The fact that she is not makes it unlikely adequate negative pressure can build up in the back of the nose to the point that it would suck beer up into the ear. Not pinching the nose is equivalent to trying to drink something up into the mouth WITHOUT making a tight lip seal around the straw.

Even if you could drink beer through the ear, you really shouldn't because...

1) Beer contains alcohol and if this touches the middle ear region which is very sensitive, there would be quite a bit of pain akin to alcohol touching an open skin wound.

2) Alcohol can also potentially lead to permanent hearing loss if drawn into the middle ear. It's the same reason why earwax removal drops specifically caution against using it whenever there's a hole in the eardrum.

3) Beer in the ear could lead to an ear infection.

4) Lastly, if the beer is not at body temperature, it could lead to severe dizziness due to a phenomenon known as caloric vestibular stimulation.

So... don't do it... even if you could!

Woman Drinks Beer Though Her Ear? Czech Clip Appears To Show Crazy, Dangerous Stunt (VIDEO). Huffington Post 5/14/13
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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