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A young Chinese woman was left partially deaf following a passionate kiss from her boyfriend.

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The kiss reduced pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear.

Source - BBC News

How exactly does this work though? With me not immediately being familiar with the inter-mechanisms of the mouth/jaw/ears, I'm not able to so easily discern the cause-effect of this; also, most all literature I come across is anatomically oriented, like this, as apposed to perhaps more "functionally" oriented.

Follow-up / Accenting question: is there any kind of anatomical disposition that would make the woman more susceptible to this happening? I mean, there are millions of people that partake in "passionate kissing" every day, however, this is the first I've ever heard of it bursting someone's ear drum.

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    $\begingroup$ The Daily Mail is not known for accuracy; it is known, though, for sensationalism. $\endgroup$ Nov 30 '17 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse I was also able to find this story on BBC News, and have updated my source link accordingly; I hope you find this [source] more credible. $\endgroup$
    – user22020
    Dec 1 '17 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ Normally the pressure in the ear sinuses communicates directly with the nose, so the only way to change the pressure there is to pinch your nose, which is what divers do. Some people can have blocked sinuses and badly formed organs. $\endgroup$ Apr 10 '19 at 6:44
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"The kiss reduced pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear"

All you really need to understand the mechanism given this statement is anatomy: the nasal cavity and ears are connected through the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustachian_tube so pressure changes in the mouth can be communicated to the ears. A typical individual would experience this when having the ears 'pop' in response to changes in outside pressure due to elevation or swimming underwater.

is there any kind of anatomical disposition that would make the woman more susceptible to this happening

Although I have not conducted a survey with a sufficient sample size, I don't believe most peoples' passionate kissing involves forming a mouth-to-mouth seal and then sucking/inhaling forcefully to create enough of a vacuum to damage someones' eardrum. It seems that the anatomical disposition most likely to make a woman or man more susceptible to this happening is having a kissing partner with this unorthodox approach. As commenter @kmm points out, you would also need to seal the nose, so having a partner who plugs your nose during kissing or having nasal congestion would also be necessary.

With 7 billion+ humans, though, there is a large enough sample that statistically rare events occur all the time, in part because there is also a near-infinite set of possible rare events.

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    $\begingroup$ You'd have to pinch off the nose as well to be able to generate the negative pressure. $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    Nov 30 '17 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ @kmm That's a good point, so I suppose someone with a stuffy nose could be more susceptible. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 30 '17 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ This a splendidly amusing answer. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Nov 30 '17 at 21:14

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