Yes, your ears really can hear the difference between hot and cold water
A wave of guilt just washed over us because it appears that we have underestimated a very important part of our bodies. If you didn’t already realize your ears hear the difference between hot and cold water, join us by hanging your head in shame, too.
Based on what we gathered from British comedian and YouTuber Tom Scott‘s latest Things You Might Not Know video, our ears deserve a lot more credit than we’ve given them. Apparently, the body’s auditory system is majorly in tune with H₂O, kind of like how the sound of running water makes you want to pee, except this ear-to-liquid relationship makes us feel superhuman instead of forcing us to do humiliating dances.
In the video, science presenter Steve Mould explains why human ears are almost as potent as dog ear’s. Just kidding — we’re not quite there yet, but we’re still proud of this information nonetheless. Anyway, Mould starts by letting us hear the sound of both cold and hot water pouring. As it turns out, there’s an obvious difference in the sound between the two, which has to do with the water’s viscosity, or thickness.
As Mould explains, the water becomes less viscous when it’s heated, therefore the difference is reflected in the way it sounds. He also uses honey as another example, demonstrating how it thins — or loses viscosity — when heated. But with water, it’s more difficult to tell the difference in temperature by simply looking at it.
Or yeah…you could just taste it, but we’re discussing *hearing* at the moment, so let’s stick to the appropriate senses.
So basically, all of this came about because, over time, our ears adapt to hearing different cold and hot drinks being poured. That means we’re instinctively in tune with with what’s hot and what’s not, which is the coolest thing we’ve heard all day.