The Kiss that can make you go Deaf

With youngsters blaring Spotify on their headphones loud enough for the whole bus to hear, it is only natural for elders to advice you to keep your iPods turned down. Forget that for a minute and listen to this.

Little do we know that a simple and innocent kiss can do a far worse damage to your ears. It is something that sounds like fiction, more like an urban legend and seems like a story I understand, is tough to believe.In case you do not believe me, I have included references at the end of the article. It is weird, but I believe it is important for people to be informed about it.


Kissing on the ear, a kiss that involves suction, has the ability to create a negative pressure on your ear drum and can cause serious injury to it. It can cause intense pain due to the pulling of ossicular chain and due to the ear drum getting dislodged. The symptoms may vary anything from a constant ringing sound, hearing loss to certain kind of sounds, distortion or even complete hearing loss.

Reiter’s ear-kiss syndrome (REKS)

It is called Cochlear ear-kiss injury or Reiter’s ear-kiss syndrome (REKS) named after the person who recently became popular for having uncovered this strange phenomenon – Professor at audiology program at Hofstra University (Hempstead, N.Y.), Dr. Levi Reiter. Read his interview here.

The case of Ms Schwartzman

The first known case of this kind, according to Dr. Reiter, had been reported during the 1950s. But he came to know about it only in the year 2007 when a woman by the name Gail Schwartzman, a mother of a then 4-year old girl, came to him with a problem in her hearing.

Ms. Schwartzman told him that one year ago (in 2006), on one fine day, she was sitting with her daughter on the floor and watching the television. Suddenly, the kid felt a great love for her mother and she decided to giver her a nice long kiss. The kiss involved the kid creating a strong suction, and unfortunately, she did it on her mother’s ear canal.

The mother felt an intense amount of pain, as if the “air was being drained from her head.”

Since the same amount of force exerted on a smaller cross-sectional area can induce a greater pressure, it is far more dangerous to kiss an infant’s ear. As the ear canal of infant’s and little kids is much smaller, your vacuum smooch can induce a far greater negative pressure on it and dislodge, or detach the ear drum.

Careful with Infants

Besides, this is also dangerous to infants because it could happen to them with a simple kiss, and it would not be in their ability to judge any damage that might have happened to their hearing. Even if they did, they would not be able to communicate their trouble to you.

That’s just one of the many horror stories of this evil kiss on the ear. If you dig around in the medical literature from the past, trust me you will find tens of these cases.

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