Science made simple

Why are women’s voices higher than men’s and why do we sneeze?

We explore some of the curious questions that science can answer

Thursday 29 July 2021 00:45
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<p>Sneezing is a reflex action that blasts air at up to 103mph to clear the air passages</p>

Sneezing is a reflex action that blasts air at up to 103mph to clear the air passages

Why are women’s voices higher than men’s?

The larynx, or voice box, in the throat has a mucous membrane that forms two pairs of folds: an upper pair (the “false” vocal cords) and a lower pair (the “true” vocal cords). The false vocal cords hold the breath against pressure from beneath – say, when you strain to lift a heavy object. They do not produce sound.

The true vocal cords do produce sound. Under the folds are bands of elastic ligaments stretched between pieces of rigid cartilage like the strings on a guitar, with muscles attached to both the cartilage and the true vocal cords.

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