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Why can babies cry for hours, but one football match can leave a fan hoarse for days?

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Husky after singing your favourite footie chants or maybe it was shouting at the ref (like he can hear you from there!), yet how can a baby can cry for hours and stay as clear as a bell?

Asked by: Judith Robinson


Crying is an important behaviour for babies to make sure that they get prompt attention from their parents when they need something. Newborn babies cry for an average of 6.7 hours per day, something that would make an adult become hoarse, lose their voice and eventually develop growths (‘nodules’) on their vocal cords.

Infants have so much endurance because their vocal cords don’t have stiffening ligaments yet, and are packed with hyaluronic acid, which makes them much more elastic and shock-absorbing. A side effect of these adaptations is that babies are unable to accurately articulate sounds, which goes some way to explaining all their babbling.

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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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