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Old 08 November 2010, 05:31 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,660
Sneeze Ants cause hiccups

Comment: My friend said he heard that ants can get into your ear and cause
hiccups. I googled it and found the following:

It says that this is true and there have been 2 other cases of similar
situations; although, it was caused by hairs and not an ant. I can't
really find any more information about this. Is this true?
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Old 16 December 2010, 04:13 AM
Gutter Monkey's Avatar
Gutter Monkey Gutter Monkey is offline
Join Date: 13 December 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 4,162

There are many things which can cause hiccups and one of them turns out to be ear irritations. Here's a good article on it:
"Ear, throat and esophageal conditions that irritate the vagus or phrenic nerves, which control some of the functions of these structures, may lead to hiccups. According to, possible causes include gastroesophageal reflux, laryngitis, sore throat, neck tumors or cysts, thyroid enlargement, ear infections and a hair or another foreign object touching the eardrum."
(Emphasis mine.)

Following up on their source:
Nerve damage or irritation
"The most common cause of long-term hiccups is damage or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle. Factors that may cause damage or irritation to these nerves include:
* A hair or something else in your ear touching your eardrum
* Sore throat or laryngitis
* A tumor, cyst or goiter in your neck
* Gastroesophageal reflux"

It turns out that the old wives tale is true in this case! (But not exclusively true, it's just one of the many many things that might cause hiccups.)
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