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Did Donald Duck Inhale Helium?

I'm sure most of us have sucked back a quick inhale from a helium balloon and had a good laugh. Sounding like Donald Duck or the Chipmunks is enough to make anyone crack up. What is it about helium that makes us sound so funny?

No one will disagree that helium changes your voice, but not everyone believes it is helium that causes your voice to become high-pitched. What it does is change the timbre of your voice. This has nothing to do with falling trees. Timbre is what allows you to tell the difference between the same note played at the same volume on two different instruments. It also helps you hear the different parts of speech, like vowel sounds.

You need to know how sound works to understand what happens. When you talk, air travels from your lungs up through the larynx and out of your mouth. The larynx has a pair of vocal folds which form a V-shaped slit. When the air is leaving, it hits the underside of the vocal folds and makes them vibrate. Are you still with me? This vibrating excites air molecules in your vocal tract. By moving your tongue, lips, roof of your mouth, etc. you can create recognizable sounds. So that's how sound works. Let's get back to helium.

Helium is much lighter than air. Because of this, the speed of sound is much higher in helium. When you inhale helium you increase the speed of the sound of your voice. The shape of your vocal tract doesn't change. If you increase the speed of a sound you also increase the wavelength. However, on the way to the ear the sound travels thru air again and the wavelength goes back to normal. It's not the change in frequency that gives you the squeaky voice but a change in pitch. The sound has the same frequencies but helium causes a shift in your timbre. This means the higher frequencies are getting a higher enhancement than normal so the pitch changes. The end result? You sound like a chipmunk.

Although inhaling helium is fun it's not exactly healthy. Every time you inhale pure helium, you are not inhaling oxygen. Whatever you do, never inhale helium from a high pressure tank! Besides the serious risk of lung damage, you could end up with bubbles of helium in the arteries that lead to your brain. This can lead to stroke-like symptoms and, of course, death. Still laughing? Didn't think so.

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Who Has the Squeakiest Voice?

  • Michael Jackson.
  • Richard Simmons.
  • Renee Zelweiger (Gerry McGuire, Me, Myself & Irene).
  • Leslie Mann (Big Daddy, Cable Guy).

General In The Forums

rainbowpoptart
"AlphaT" wrote:And you are the last person I'd have thought would come up with such an interesting dilemma. Good work. I'm not entirely sure if I'm supposed to be offended by that or not. "AlphaT" wrote:I wasn't making a serious statement. I was referring to how my boundless charisma is enough for people to want to know me, without having to resort to my dashing good looks.  Right, right, because your charm is already more than enough to have the ladies wanting you and the gentlemen wanting to be you. Throwing your gorgeous face into the mix would only make it even worse.
reply 25 minutes
Fun_125
Fun_125 posted in Random:
IN JAILTori_With_Sporks: IMMA SHANK YOU NEMO!!Flawless_Hair: NOT MY HAIR!!Tori_With_Sporks: IMMA SHANK THAT HAIR BOIFlawless_Hair: NUUUTori_With_Sporks: What are you in here for?Flawless_Hair: I killed GabbyTori_With_ Sporks: YO BOI WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??Flawless_Hair: IM SORRY!! not
reply about 1 hour
AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
"rainbowpoptart" wrote: "AlphaT" wrote: "rainbowpoptart" wrote: "AlphaT" wrote: Not if you have a great personality. So do people judge you by your profile picture because you have a bad personality or because they disregard your great personality and assume you're a bad person because you support Trump? Definitely the second.  Meaning your initial statement isn't entirely correct. There are indeed people who will or will not want to befriend you for your personality instead of for whatever your picture is, yes. But if someone doesn't know much about you as a person or is just too ignorant to care about your personality, then they're gonna judge you solely by that picture. You're genuinely one of the very last people I'd have thought would ever make such a weak point and contradict themselves like that, bud. And you are the last person I'd have thought would come up with such an interesting dilemma. Good work. I wasn't making a serious statement. I was referring to how my boundless charisma is enough for people to want to know me, without having to resort to my dashing good looks. 
reply about 1 hour
Fun_125
Fun_125 posted in Random:
Flawless_Hair: I DONT WANT TO GO TO JAIL!!!AbiCop: Too bad Nemo, you didn't fan that poor girlFlawless_Hair: She died from natural causes!AbiCop: Nope go to jailFlawless_Hair was sent to jail due to murder  AbiCop: OMG  LMAO YOU ARE A LAMO!!
reply about 1 hour
Fun_125
Fun_125 posted in Random:
The_Colorful_Trashcan: Can you fan me?Flawless_Hair: Ew, no, I don't even want to be close to you. The_Color_Trashcan: So I can take that as a yes?Flawless_Hair: NoThe_Colorful_Trashcan died from a heat strokeFlawless_Hair: HIDE ME!!!!!
reply about 1 hour