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Published on Dec 8, 2022
A grandmother recorded her granddaughter’s unique ear movement — and the footage is inspiring TikTokers to wiggle their own ears to see if they, too, can perform this rare trick.
Grandma Elizabeth Castillo (@elizabethcastill053) gained over 975,000 views, 63,000 likes and nearly 2,000 comments when she uploaded the striking footage to her account.
While we’ve seen stunning bodily functions go viral in the past — like the breastfeeding mom who was shocked when she pumped “strawberry” milk — this little girl’s ear trick is unlike anything many TikTokers have seen.
#fyp #mybabiesears #shesanelien #quepasara? #ears
In the now viral video, Elizabeth explains that she first noticed her granddaughter’s rare ear abilities whenever the little girl was around loud noise.
“She’s able to do this with both ears,” the grandmother explains. “When I first saw it open on its own, I was really freaked out — but I think it’s pretty cool.”
After the little girl demonstrates her trick, the grandma then asks TikTok to help them solve the mystery of the strange movement. “If you guys have ever seen this on any other kid, please comment, tag doctors … I want to know if anybody else’s kid can do this.”
One TikToker volunteered the answer, “She’s able to move her tensor tympani muscle, makes a roaring/rumbling noise too.”
According to Healthline, the human ear has three segments: external, middle and inner ear. The tensor tympani muscle is one of the two muscles in the middle ear. “The hollow space of the middle ear is the tympanic cavity. As sound waves penetrate the external ear, the eardrum vibrates,” Healthline reports.
This vibration is then communicated to the ossicles — the three smallest bones in the human body.
“The muscles of the middle ear can regulate the movement of these bones. When very loud sounds are heard, the muscles contract and reduce the vibration of the ossicles,” explains Healthline. “The amplitude of the sounds is thus decreased. This is referred to as the acoustic reflex. The tensor tympani muscle is attached to the malleus. Its role in the acoustic reflex is to pull the malleus away from the eardrum.”
By pulling the malleus away from the eardrum, the tensor tympani muscle is able to dampen vibrations transmitted through the inner ear — something that most people cannot do at will.
In fact, according to the Journal of Laryngology & Otology, the ability to voluntarily contract one’s tensor tympani muscle is a very rare event — making Elizabeth’s granddaughter’s ear trick very special indeed!
Nearly 2,000 TikTokers rushed to the comment section to weigh in on the shocking ear movement.
“I wish I could do that,” one user wrote.
“Never saw this b4,” another user commented.
“Wow she is unique ?never ever seen this,” wrote another.
But some TikTokers reported being able to do the same thing with their ears.
“It’s kind of a white noise generator as well…I’ve been able to do this all my life. helps avoid swimmers ear,” one user shared.
“I can do it. I use this when Im in high altitudes or on airplanes and my ears start popping. It helps get rid of that clogged feeling,” wrote another user.
Other TikTokers found humor in the little girl’s abilities.
“True definition of ‘selective hearing!’” one user joked.
“I think my husband can do this when I am talking!” laughed another user.
Elizabeth’s shocking video just proves that our bodies are more incredible than we often realize — and that we all have unique gifts in this life!
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