How can I sneeze quietly?

Being an allergy-prone sort of person, during some parts of the year I find myself sneezing quite a bit. I sneeze loudly; a hearty blast that, has, at times, been heard by neighbors. While I’m inside my house, and they’re inside theirs.

I attended a Catholic elementary school through my childhood, an was amazed at the ability of plaid-skirted girls with names like Mary, Beth, and Mary Beth to finish what would appear to be a hearty sneeze with a quiet, almost mouse-like squeak. “AH … AH … AH … AHHH … eep.” Not the loud “CHOO!” that frightens mty dogs.

My question: how do they do it? How did Catholic girls sneeze so quietly? More importantly, how can I reduce the volume of my trademark sneeze?

hold your breath just before you sneeze and be ready for the implosion.

Use your whole hand against your face and sneeze into it.

And add cover yourself with a handkerchief or something similar to muzzle the sneeze. But. Basically, I do what shijinn stated.

I am not a doctor of medicine.

I hope I can gently dissuade you from holding your breath when you sneeze. I won’t give you any old-wife thing about blowing your brain to pieces. Lots of suppressed sneezes don’t do any harm at all. A few do some harm. The unreleased pressure can throw your back into spasm, cause a hernia, or dislocate a rib from the sternum. These things aren’t life-threatening. However, any one of them can be darned inconvenient, and can give you extreme discomfort or pain (depending on what your pain tolerance is.) :eek:

Besides, the whole point of a sneeze is to spew out something irritating your breathing passages. If you don’t allow the sneeze, your body will probably need another one. In fact, I try not to restrict the flow with any ch or sh sound. I’ve trained myself to a sneeze that sounds like a single loud laugh, “Hhhaaaa!” Someday, maybe I can get the vocal cords out of the action.

I hope you’re not one of those poor souls with a sneeze that yells, “HOT SHIT!” I can’t imagine the embarrassment. :smack: :eek:

I have learned to sneeze not just quietly but silently (the latter isn’t possible every time…it depends on the strength of the sneeze), and coincidentally or not, I too attended Catholic school. Weird. We did not have sneezing lessons in health class, but I only went to Catholic high school – maybe they cover that in grade school.

I don’t know if I could explain how to do it, though – I think a demonstration would be necessary. You kind of “swallow” the sneeze by shutting off your sinuses in the back of your throat and directing the sneeze upwards. I’ve been doing that for years and have never suffered any ill effects, nor do I feel like my ears, sinuses, diaphragm, lungs, and/or frontal lobe are being subjected to unpleasant amounts of pressure. YMMV.

[I must note that I’m one of those people who sneeze lightly a dozen times in quick succession, rather than one of those who sneeze three really big sneezes. Maybe this is why I can suppress them without pain. If I feel a rare, really big, sneeze coming on, I just let it out. Damn, I hate those.]

I went to Catholic grade school, and I don’t think they taught it there. But I do know how to sneeze quietly. Maybe we developed the silent sneeze so as not to draw the priest’s attention during Mass?

But unlike gallows fodder, I can’t really describe how it’s done. You just kind of swallow the sound. I can sneeze out loud if I want, but if I don’t think about it, the sneeze is silent.

That was my thought, too. :slight_smile: I know I sneeze like this so as to not call attention to myself.

Muffle it.

No physical harm will ensue.

When I have to sneeze and it’s very important that I be quiet about it (like, say, at a concert in the middle of a quiet solo), I close my mouth tight and hold my nose. That works, but I don’t do it very often because I have to admit, I’m always worried that the sneeze will come out of my ears, along with my eardrums. I don’t know if it would, but it feels like it would. I’ll have to try out the swallowing the sneeze trick.

I can STOP a sneeze from happening (well, it works for ME anyway).

We’ve seen in cartoons and old comedy shorts of people stopping a sneeze by holding their finger, horizontally, under their nose.
I *used to * think that it blocked their nostrils (“why not just pinch them shut”).
I later found that by applying pressure (inward and upward) at the point where the septum meets the upper lip, an impending sneeze can be effectively stopped.

GrizzWife stifles a sneeze by repeating the word grapefruit several times aloud.

Both, for us, have a high percentage of success.

Think of the scariest face you can make and run toward someone… Preferably someone several steps away (enough for them to realize what terror is about to befall them).

Won’t help. It’ll just make me happier.

Unless you’re near me.

Don’t use your vocal chords. My mom has the most disruptive sneeze of the “AH-CHOOOO!” variety. It sounds like a scream and is quite alarming. Everyone else in our family sneezes very quietly: inhale quickly followed by a sudden “TSS!” sound.

Don’t use your vocal chords and do the sudden exhale through your nose. NOTE: Be sure to have your hanky handy. When you sneeze out your nose, you sneeze out your nose.

This thread just made me sneeze. Loudly. I’m like my dad, we can’t do it any other way.

I can often abort a sneeze by inhaling deeply at precisely the right moment (right before the CHOO). I don’t do it all that much, because I find sneezing satisfying (the unrealized sneeze is one of life’s big disappointments).

Sneeze loudly.

A guy at work tried to suppress a sneeze in church and blew out two discs/vertebrae in his neck and needed surgery.

I was relating the story to someone else who has chronic neck problems, he said that his doctor had told him to never try to stop a sneeze because it is the most explosive expulsion of the human body and particles can be expelled at 120 mph.

But there is a huge difference between trying to supress a sneeze and sneezing in such a manner that you aren’t being super-loud.

People have come running to assist my mom when she has sneezed in public, because it really does sound like a scream, and good samaritans though she was in distress.

Avoiding using your vocal chords or allowing the sneeze to just be the powerful exhale it wants to be can be less dramatic. My father always sneezed big, but it sounded like a really loud “SHAY!” sound.

Suppressing a sneeze is not good, don’t try to stop it. But you can direct it.

Don’t “voice” it. My husband has an earth-shattering sneeze. It literally hurts my ears if I’m in the same room. The reason it’s so loud isn’t because of the blast of air–it’s because he unconsciously engages his vocal chords at the same time. Basically, he’s sneezing and shouting simultaneously. There really isn’t any need to say “Achoo” when you sneeze. All you need to do is clear your airway.

LOL Chrismoody! I have scary sneezes. They’re very loud and I let them fly. Mine are usually a double sneeze too. It’s a natural function and supressing them seems to put undue pressure on your sinuses and eardrums, not to mention the hernias and blowing out discs mentioned earlier.

Putting your mouth into the crook of your elbow seems to help and possibly be more sanitary, if you have a sleeve that is.

Just don’t allow yourself a big inhale, when you feel a sneeze coming on.
I can have rather loud sneezes. If I’m someplace where I need to be quiet, I stop myself from taking in a large breath. Just close off your throat. When the exhale comes, there just isn’t enough air in my lungs to make a loud noise.