Episode 2 Operation Ouch!


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Episode 2

Clips from Operation Ouch! Discovering how vocal chords, diaphragm and lungs work to allow you to sing.


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-Are you ready for our Ouch Snips?

-Snip!

-Ouch.

-Exactly!

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Well, they all help you to sing!

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SINGS LONG NOTE

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First up, let's take a closer look at the vocal cords.

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This is a nasal endoscope. It's a very small camera

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that I'm going to put up my nose and look at my vocal cords.

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The best way for doctors like us to access the vocal cords

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is through the nose, because if the camera

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went via the mouth, the patient would start to gag and feel sick.

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So feel in your throat. You'll feel a hard, gristly bit at the front.

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That's your voice box or your larynx,

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and that's where your vocal cords sit.

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What you can see now is Chris' vocal cords.

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They look like flaps or webs

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going across his windpipe.

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What happens is, as your lungs force air up your windpipe,

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these flaps start to vibrate

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and it's the vibration that causes noise.

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So let's see them in action.

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So, Chris, can you hum a high note?

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HE HUMS

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Now hum a low note.

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HE HUMS

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So when Chris hums a high note,

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what you see is the vocal cords tightening and that means

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they vibrate faster and make a higher note,

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and when he hums a low note, the vocal cords relax,

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they're much floppier, they vibrate more slowly

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and you get a lower note.

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Your vocal cords may make the sound,

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but there's another unsung hero of singing.

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SHE SINGS

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Now, Lucy and other opera singers can hold a note this long,

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because she's trained a special muscle,

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one which we all have

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called the diaphragm.

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Now, your diaphragm sits here

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at the bottom of your ribcage.

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Thank you.

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Let's find out what the diaphragm looks like and how it works.

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Lucy.

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# We're going to sho-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow... #

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Ahem.

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# ..you

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# Show you... #

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Thanks, Lucy!

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Your diaphragm is the main muscle you use when you breathe,

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which is something we all do all the time.

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Now, to show you what a diaphragm looks like,

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we've got a real one...

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..from a pig.

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This is the pig's voice box,

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this is the trachea,

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or the windpipe,

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these bits are the lungs,

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and then underneath the lungs

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in a big muscular sheet,

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that is the diaphragm.

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You breathe in and out about 20,000-30,000 times a day,

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and it's this,

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the diaphragm, that makes it all happen.

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So after your heart, it's the most important muscle in your body,

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because it allows you to breathe.

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To see how it works, I've got this nifty little model.

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Now, the big bottle is your ribcage,

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and these things inside represent your lungs.

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Xand, those aren't lungs! Those are my party balloons!

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We're using them for a very important scientific demonstration!

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-OK. Well, I suppose if it's in the service of science...

-Good.

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And this at the bottom is your diaphragm.

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Now, we tend to think that breathing is all about the lungs,

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but the diaphragm is the unsung hero of breathing.

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It's what makes it all happen,

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and that's why the diaphragm is such an important muscle.

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Now, when you breathe in, the diaphragm pulls downwards.

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This lowers the pressure inside this chest cavity.

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This creates extra space, a vacuum, and air has no option

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but to rush in through your mouth and into your lungs

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to fill this space.

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And then you breathe out again.

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Your lungs really are a bit like these balloons -

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they have no muscles at all.

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They're just like bags, really, and they don't do anything

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without the diaphragm.

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Which also helps Lucy project her voice.

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We've shown you that your vocal cords make sounds by vibrating.

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And your diaphragm is one of the most important muscles in your body,

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enabling you to take 30,000 breaths a day

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and help you hold those long notes.

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Chris, I really want to sing now. Can I?

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OK, Xand, since you love it so much,

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but hold on just one second.

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OK, Xand.

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HE SINGS IN LUCY'S VOICE

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SINGING CONTINUES

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-See you next time!

-Bye!

-Bye!

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-Bye!

-Bye!

-Bye!

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