How to Sneeze Quietly: Tame the Dad Sneeze

The “how to sneeze on purpose” is a guide that teaches people how to sneeze quietly. It is a helpful article for those who have trouble with their dad sneezing.

The Dad Sneeze is a medical condition which affects men and their spouses. The problem has been traced back to the “fight or flight” mechanism, which id developed in response to environmental threats such as an intruder coming into your home. Now this reflexive reaction can interfere with everyday life. Fortunately there are ways you can tame it so that you don’t let loose on every third step!

Kate and I have been happily married for nearly 15 years and have spent 13 of those years working together on AoM. Despite being in close proximity 24 hours a day, we never tire of one other or get on each other’s nerves. 

Over the course of this decade and a half of largely blissful marriage, there has been one notable exception, one area of contention: 

The force with which I sneeze.

Kate is completely oblivious to my thundering sneezes. She claims that they irritate her ears, and that she attempts to anticipate them so that she may hide the sound with her hands. 

I’m very aware that I sneeze a lot. My sneeze volume is so loud that it hurts my ears. So I have no idea how it sounds for someone else. My loud sneezes have also embarrassed me when they occur in public. Heads turn and folks glance at me like I’ve ripped a gigantic fart when I release hell from my mouth and nostrils. 

To make things worse, my sneezes usually occur in pairs, with the second sneeze being equally as loud as, if not worse than, the first. 

“Can’t you at least attempt to calm them down?” After one of my ear-splitting sneezing bouts, Kate will inquire exasperatedly. 

“I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do,” I say. “You can’t modify your sneezes; they’re simply the way they are.” Even if I could attempt to suffocate them, I’d probably end up with an aneurysm or something. You’ll have to make do – here, put on these noise-canceling headphones.”

However, I just saw other members of The Strenuous Life discussing the “Dad Sneeze” on the forums (turns out I’m not the only one who has this problem). They also confirmed that the Dad Sneeze could be tamed.

I was intrigued and wanted to look into the matter more. Here’s my (quite long) report. 

Why Do Men Sneeze So Much?

Sneeze volume is a well-studied phenomena, which may surprise you. 

The structure of the sneezer has a big role in the volume of a sneeze. In an interview, Erich Voigt, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, noted that a person’s lung capacity, as well as the size of their muscles, have a significant impact on the volume of their sneezes. 

Larger muscles (especially in the diaphragm) result in a stronger muscular contraction, which allows you to sneeze harder and expel more air. When you sneeze, a greater lung capacity implies you’ll exhale more air. 

Sneezing with greater power and more air results in a louder sneeze. 

So I’m going to brag about how huge and meaty I am and how my loud sneezes are the result of that. Alright!

Men sneeze louder than women because their muscles are bigger and their lung capacity is greater. 

Sneeze volume is influenced by where you let the sneeze come out. “If you sneeze via your lips, it will be louder,” says Dr. Richard Harvey, another ENT.

Dr. Alan Hirch, a neurologist at the Smell and Taste Research Foundation, believes that our sneeze volume and style are also influenced by our personalities. Some folks have a tremendously loud sneeze, just as they have a pretty loud laugh. 


In addition to these considerations, sneeze volume may be influenced by culture. That is, according to sociologist Barbara Evers. Men tend to let their sneezes rip in nations where individuality is valued, such as the United States. Men in nations where uniformity is valued, such as Japan, prefer to sneeze quietly. 

Should You Just Refrain from Sneezing?

Sneezing is an instinctive response that clears irritants from our upper respiratory system. While you can’t stop yourself from sneezing out of habit, you can stop yourself from sneezing out of sheer resolve. 

Should you, however, do so? Is it possible that holding back a Dad Sneeze may result in physical harm?

When you sneeze, air rushes out of your orifices at 40 miles per hour. That’s a lot of speed. When you totally suffocate this power — by squeezing your nose or sealing your throat — the pressure generated is about 40 times greater than when a sneeze is discharged. All of that energy needs to be expended in some way. When Bugs sticks his finger in Elmer Fudd’s shotgun in the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons, the gun bursts up in Elmer’s face, I used to see the dynamic as being similar to that. 

According to Dr. Voight, however, this is not the case. The hazards of holding in a sneeze are quite minimal, and stifled-sneeze-related injuries are extremely rare — approximately one in a million.

When an accident does occur, the consequences may be serious; some individuals have broken ribs, burst eardrums, had eye injuries, and even ruptured an aorta as a result of holding in a sneeze. 

Even in these uncommon situations, Dr. Voigt points out, the patients had a preexisting, underlying illness that would have become a problem sooner or later; the repressed sneeze was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So, no, you shouldn’t be concerned about being gravely wounded as a result of sneezing into your hand. However, there are additional reasons why allowing one kind of internal implosion isn’t desirable.

Sinus infections might be exacerbated by restraining your sneezes. Remember that you sneeze to expel irritants and other foreign objects from your upper airway system. You raise your chances of acquiring a bacterial infection in your sinuses if you don’t get rid of them. 

Furthermore, although holding in a sneeze is unlikely to rupture an eardrum, it is unpleasant. It seems like a mini explosion is going off in my brain, and I’m getting a headache from it.

How to Get Rid of Dad’s Sneeze

You shouldn’t attempt to keep your sneezes in entirely for the reasons stated above. Instead, if the volume of your sneezes is bothering you (or your spouse), you can just try to reduce the problem. Here are a few strategies that might help:

Reduce the number of times you sneeze

Sneezing less is the first step in taming the Dad Sneeze. However, it is sometimes easier said than done. 


I suffer from severe allergies. And that’s a formula for disaster if you live in Oklahoma. Tulsa is ranked 23rd in the US for the most difficult city to live in if you have allergies. You are slammed with all of the pollination that occurs during that season in the spring, and then you get blasted with ragweed pollen and “cedar fever” in the autumn. I’m a sniffling, eye-watering, sneezing mess for roughly six months of the year (three in the spring, three in the autumn). 

During allergy season, I use allergy meds on a daily basis to lessen my sneezing. I find that taking a daily Claritin and spraying my nose with Flonase in the morning works best for me. 

I’m sensitive to dust mites, in addition to seasonal allergies. As a result, I try to be extra diligent about dust-busting and have an air filter beside me at all times.

Keep breathing normally when you feel the need to sneeze. 

So, you’ve made efforts to limit the quantity of sneezing you do. What can you do to make your sneeze quieter if you don’t hold back a sneeze? 

When you need to sneeze, you have a reaction to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds before letting out a huge “AH-CHOOOO!” The longer you hold your breath before sneezing, the louder and more dramatic your sneeze will be, according to Dr. Harvey. 

When you sense the want to sneeze, one way to stop it is to fight the reaction and simply keep breathing normally.

Rene Gyldenlund, a TSL member, sent me this advice when she was in medical school. When you continue to breathe normally when you feel the need to sneeze, the irritating receptors are turned off, and the sneeze reflex is suppressed, according to him. It’s also possible that by not inhaling deeply and then holding it, you’re leaving less air in your lungs to exhale. 

This hack has been tested and shown to be effective. It may sometimes totally remove the urge to sneeze, but most of the time it only reduces the volume of the sneeze.

It does, however, require some practice. Old habits are difficult to break. It takes a little of discipline for me to simply keep breathing normally when the sneeze reflex comes in since I’m so accustomed to taking a big breath and holding it before unleashing anger.

Before sneezing, take a deep breath and swallow it.

Rafael Ibanez, a TSL member, has found success with a procedure that may eliminate the need to sneeze entirely. He claims that the key is time, since “it doesn’t function too early.” Wait until “after the final ah ah ahhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH “At least for me, the sneeze goes gone completely,” Rafael explains.

I sought online for an explanation of why this would work but couldn’t find anything. Swallowing before breathing, in my opinion, works in a similar way to just breathing normally when you need to sneeze: it acts as a diversion, dampening the sneeze reflex.


Use Your Nose to Sneeze

Sneezing via your mouth, as previously said, is louder than sneezing through your nose. The difficulty with sneezing via your nose is that the ejection will be wetter and snottier as a consequence. Make sure you have a tissue or hankie on hand if you start sneezing through your nose.



The “how to sneeze loudly” is a problem that many people face. There are many remedies for this issue, but one of the best solutions is to tuck your chin in and let out a quick, quiet sneeze.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make a sneeze quieter?

A: One way is to hold ones nose and give a sharp cough, which will cause the air in your throat to be expelled. Another more common technique is clearing your throat before you sneeze so that there isnt too much pressure behind it.

Do all dads sneeze loud?

A: Yes, they are famous for it.

Why do my parents sneeze so loud?

A: From what youve told us, your parents are likely to be allergic. This is because their immune system overreacts when theyre exposed to something that can trigger sneezing and swelling of the nasal membranes. One way to help them avoid any further complications would be by ensuring that the room stays clean and dust free so as not to cause build up in their lungs. People who suffer from asthma should avoid exposure too since it will increase the chances of an attack

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