I accidentally played music wearing earphones at top volume, and felt maybe half a second of pain before I seemingly involuntarily swatted the earphones to the ground. I don't remember even having time to think about the loud noise before the earphones were on the ground, and it left me thinking, do humans have a reflex to "swat" away loud noises from the ears?


1 Answer 1


What you are describing sounds like a startle response. The startle response, along with the vestibular-occular reflex and acoustic reflex, and are often thought of as reflexes, despite not involving a reflex arc where a sensory neuron synapses with the spinal cord allowing for motor responses to occur without the signal reaching the brain. The startle response involves a number of brain structures and therefore, even though it is an unconscious response, in the strictest sense, it is not a reflex.

  • There's a subsection on that startle response wiki about the "acoustic startle response," which seems almost similar to what I'm looking for Apr 3, 2017 at 18:26

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