If you’ve never felt weird about speaking, singing, yelling, or even breathing through your mouth, be prepared to feel really grossed out by all of those things when you see what your body has to go through to make all that happen.
Australian musician Tom Thum does the honours by visiting ear, nose, and throat specialist, Matthew Broadhurst from the Queensland Voice Centre, and volunteering to get two rather sizeable recording devices shoved up his nose and down his throat.
As a beatboxer, Tom Thum knows how to make some pretty ridiculous sounds using his vocal cords, but let’s just say what we hear on the outside is nowhere near as weird (read: disgusting) as what’s going on inside the body.
We’ll stop talking about it now so you can watch, but fair warning – we had to skip the ‘up the nose into the soft palate’ stuff, because holy crap, that is seriously gross. And when he swallows…
Intense, right? But let’s not forget – Tom Thum has some pretty well-trained vocal cords, but the anatomy of his larynx (or voice box) is no more complex than yours or mine. So yes, everything you just saw is also lurking inside of you.
As Broadhurst explains, most of what the camera is showing when Tom Thum beatboxes is the top of his soft palate – the soft tissue that forms the back of the roof of the mouth:
“The sound that’s used to generate a lot of it is all from movements of the tongue, whether it’s flat and forward, lifted up, pushed back, flattened out across the back – there’s a huge range of shapes, which is what creates all those sounds,” says Broadhurst.
“When you look further down, you can see the larynx complex either squeezing like crazy for specific sounds, or pulling right up towards the back of the nose – you’ll see other tissues around that vibrate, which are also making the sound.”
So there you have it – just a friendly reminder that as much as we’d all love to think that under our skin there’s just a black void that somehow facilitates breathing, eating, and digesting without all the blood, guts, and mucus, unfortunately, we’re all pink and grisly inside.
And for those of you who love this kind of stuff, why not stay for some actual brain surgery?