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Ear-hum!?

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Khassera
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When I lower my larynx and keep a really wide, open throat, I hear the sound in my ears. Kinda like when you're in an airplane and your ears get clogged up and you yawn to open them. I've built a habit of doing most (if not all) of my vocal exercises with this sensation. Meaning, I constantly hear the tone inside my ears/skull/cavities/whatever. And whenever either ear clogs up I get the feeling that I've done something "wrong" (or could've done it better).

The reason I have the habit is 'cause I might have understood "resonance" wrong, so I just aimed to get everything buzzing. At first it felt awful, it itches/tingles in the ears, but it got easier really fast.

So on to the questions:

What is this called? Is it just increased resonance? For convenience I'll call it "ear-hum" for now.

Is this wrong? I know it might not be inherently "wrong" per se, but is it "normal?" Do people do it? Does it serve any purpose other than the ones I've found it does for me:

+ Easier to stay in tune since the sound basically works as a monitor

+ Easier to move fluently between registers (I know the ear-hum isn't the cause of it, the lowered larynx is, but it helps to keep the coordination in place)

+ Easier to control volume/resonance (it feels like overkill if I do this into a karaoke mic, I usually do this when I sing at work in a huge hall, and it still sounds loud)

- Once I lose tune, I stay lost until I stop the phrase unless the background/band is VERY loud

- Really hard to tell if I'm twanging/using pharyngeal resonance enough/at all since all I hear is the hum and not the timbre (if that's even the real term)… so i guess it's harder to be dynamic and sound "alive" rather than operatic…

So uhh… Yeah! What's up?

EDIT: Also, I'm not just yelling. That crossed my mind, but to me a yell/shout is a very low-resonance (again, if I'm even using the right word for it) loud chest pull or something. Instinctive.

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The Eustachian Tube (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustachian_tube) can be openned during the coordination of covering and it will cause what you hear "inside" your head to be considerably louder.

This may be a quite good reference since if its open, you can be almost sure that everything else is open too...

It can however lead to an exageration, the sound that you are hearing louder is not equal to resonance.

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Holy crap, thanks! Good to know.

So in some cases, such as long belted mid-range notes/phrases it might be useful to make the phrase sound theatrical. It's true that it does make the sound kinda sound the same all throughout, guess I just gotta find the balance.

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I often hear the resonance near my ear, like in the area immediately in front of the ear near the jaw joint. I hear the sound very prominently there in the bone, and it can get very loud at times. What you're probably experiencing is a combination of hearing the sound via bone conduction and also the soft palate raising, changing the pressure in the eustachian tubes as Felipe pointed out.

~~Dante~~

Dante, Khassera, Felipe: There is a little valve that governs the air connection of the middle ear to the eusachian tubes, and further to the nasopharynx. There is 1 for each tube, at the nasopharynx end of the tube. Reflexively, these open when a person yawns, 'pops their ears', swallows, and other gestures. Mine even open when I wiggle my ears :-)

If the valves are held open during phonation, the sound in the nasopharyx travels up the Eustachean tubes and into the middle ear, where it can have an influence on the eardrums, the middle-ear bones (the so-called 'hammer', 'anvil' and 'stirrup') and on the oval and round windows to the inner ear. The term for this is 'autophony'.

For the singer, there is an upside, and a downside to this. The upside is that you can 'really' hear yourself. The downside is that you cannot hear external sounds very well at all, as they are quite soft by comparison, and the sound you hear internally is quite different from what comes out your mouth.

For someone that makes music with others, I find it to be a distraction if it happens, which (mercifully) is very rare for me.

I hope this is helpful.

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