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Thread: Speacking Underwater

  1. #1 Speacking Underwater 
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    When you speak, your vocal cords vibrate, creating sound wave. When these waves reach your ear, the ear drug vibrates, allowing the inner ear to detect the noise and send the correct signals to the brain. This is a very simplified version of the process, but good enough for my question. When you speak underwater, the sound waves can not translate from air to water effectively. My question is, if you inhales water and then tried talking, would your vocal cords be strong enough to form the sound waves necessary for communication. I realize that you would die from drowning if you ever tied this. I just wanted to know if human vocal cords are strong enough to do it.

    Thank you in advance for the replies.


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  3. #2  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question (*) but I wanted to say that it is, in principle, possible to breathe liquid (and survive). There are liquids that can contain enough dissolved gas to be breathable. This has been tested on rats: after a moment of panic, they wander around in the liquid apparently oblivious to the fact they are "underwater". I don't think a human has ever tried it (it was used as a rather scary diving technique in the movie The Abyss, I think).

    (*) My guess is the answer would yes, but the frequencies produced would be much lower.


    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I don't think a human has ever tried it
    Um, The first medical use of liquid breathing was treatment of premature babies
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    wow. I never knew that. (But of course they are used to breathing liquid; it is probably quite comforting to be back in it. Me? Not so much.)
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  6. #5  
    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Apparently there are problems - the density of the liquid, being so much greater than air, means that it can't be done for extended periods. Nor when exertion is required.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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    Fetuses "breathing" ?? Come on! (Or is it "feti"?) jocular
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewish-Scientist View Post
    When you speak, your vocal cords vibrate, creating sound wave. When these waves reach your ear, the ear drug vibrates, allowing the inner ear to detect the noise and send the correct signals to the brain. This is a very simplified version of the process, but good enough for my question. When you speak underwater, the sound waves can not translate from air to water effectively. My question is, if you inhales water and then tried talking, would your vocal cords be strong enough to form the sound waves necessary for communication. I realize that you would die from drowning if you ever tied this. I just wanted to know if human vocal cords are strong enough to do it.

    Thank you in advance for the replies.
    Speaking as a professional vocalist.

    Who exercises her vocal chords daily....

    Nope....you might get a sound out but your vocal chords, even for a professional, I do not believe they could withstand that.
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    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    I should add ........for anything but a brief length of time, as it would cause a severe strain ON your vocal chords..and if you strain them, you usually go hoarse or lose your voice totally, which is why you train in the first place to learn to use them correctly in the first place.

    There is no projection ability......or if there is, it is brief...
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  10. #9  
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    Thanks for the answers. They are all really interesting.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    There is equipment available which permits a person underwater, breathing normal compressed air, to speak in the normal way, and electronics convert the sound to ultra-sound which travels easily through water, and which is picked up by suitable equipment by a second person (or by a boat) and turned back into sound waves in the air. This equipment is commercially available. It works.

    The human way is to use technology to solve these little problems.
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