Many of us have some cure for the hiccups, whether that’s drinking water upside-down or holding our breath, but a peculiar type of drinking straw, developed by a peculiar type of scientist, seems to be impressively effective.
Stopping 92% of attacks on the spot, the L-shaped drinking straw requires a suction and swallow motion and is available as a patented product for around fifteen bucks.
Singultus, as hiccups are known, are contractions of the diaphragm and the muscles between the floating ribs, known as the intercostals. The sharp intake of air causes the vocal folds to resonate, creating the sound which give singultus their common name.
While often presenting nothing more than a nuisance, one group of scientists mention in a study that hiccups can last in some people for days, even weeks. A terrifying prospect.
When the straw is placed inside a glass of water, a pressure valve on the bottom of the straw blocks the water from moving upward as fast as the strength of the human-generated suction would normally allow. This causes the phrenic nerve to activate all of the diaphragm’s capacity, while swallowing uses something called the vagus nerve.
These two parts of the nervous system are the cause for the contractions in the first place, and so keeping them busy prevents them from doing so.
Sold as “HicC Away” on Amazon, the straw had a more than 90% success rate, while 93% of people said it was more convenient than home remedies.