WHY DEAF PEOPLE DON'T ACHOO WHEN THEY SNEEZE?
Sneezing feels—and is—so involuntary, yet apparently you do still have some control over what you say when you sneeze. "Achoo!" is particular to English speakers, the BBC's Ouch blog reports, and deaf people just make the sounds associated with the movement of air a sneeze represents.
"While deaf people sneeze naturally, hearing people feel compelled to add sound effects," partially deaf journalist Charlie Swinbourne wrote in a post for The Limping Chicken, a U.K.-based blog for deaf people.
In other cultures, hearing people choose different "sound effects," indicating that achooing is by no means inevitable. French speakers sneeze to achoum, for example, while Japanese speakers say hakashun. Those sound similar to achoo, but aren't exactly the same. Bencie Woll, a researcher who studies deaf communication at the University College London, explained why for Ouch. Sneezes do make some sound that people aren't able to control, but people are able to modify the sound, depending on what seems socially appropriate. Laughter works similarly. You gotta make noise when you laugh, but you are able to stifle or amplify it.