The Sneeze Makes the Man…and Woman
And sometimes there is humor. Various wire services recently picked up the dubious theory of a Chicago-area neurologist that the way we sneeze says something essential about our personalities. His idea: that this explosive propulsion of air is, to some degree, under our control, and therefore reflects a number of conscious and unconscious factors. Among these are social sensitivity and a desire to be heard:
“Sneezes are like laughter,” says Dr. Alan Hirsch, a neurologist, psychiatrist and founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago . . . . “Some [laughs] are loud, some are soft. And it’s similar with sneezing. It will often be the same from youth onward in terms of what it sounds like.”
Hirsch says he doesn’t know of any studies that have been conducted on various sneezing styles and what they might mean, but says he does believe the way we sneeze reflects some component of the personality.
“It’s more of a psychological thing and represents the underlying personality or character structure,” he says.
I think we can agree that the key line here is that no actual studies have been done to confirm or refute this theory either way. Yet it remains an amusing idea, and one that surely represents a new frontier at the intersection of otolaryngology and psychology.
For now, the salient point is that your sneezing style is individual, and yours alone. Everyone has one, and everyone makes peace with it over time. Whether you say “Bless you” or not – well, that’s something you choose.