No existence on planet Earth is ever completed without at least one night spent slumped in a karaoke bar listening to drunken old men belt out “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. However, this experience is not without its dangers, apparently.
A man in China suffered from a collapsed lung after attempting to hit a high note during an intense karaoke session, as reported by the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English newspaper. The 65-year-old man from Nanchang county in Jiangxi province reportedly sang 10 high-pitched songs in a row when he started to suffer from chest pain and breathlessness.
“I was very excited in the heat of the moment and after singing a few songs with very high notes, I found myself having breathing difficulties,” the man, known only as Wang, told the Chinese video streaming platform PearVideo (below).
A visit to the ER revealed that the man had suffered a collapsed lung due to “the high lung pressure caused by singing high notes,” said his doctor. Fortunately, he managed to receive the appropriate treatment and is continuing to make a steady recovery.
A collapsed lung, medically known as pneumothorax, occurs when a hole or puncture in the lung results in inhaled air leaking into the cavity between the lung and chest wall, according to The American Lung Association. The leaked air can accumulate and build up pressure within the chest cavity. Although it’s often caused by a physical chest injury or damage from an underlying lung disease, it can occur for no apparent reason. One recent case documented a 79-year-old woman from Portugal who suffered pneumothorax after an acupuncture needle went too deep and pierced her lung.
There are also documented cases of damage being caused by people screaming their lungs out, literally. Reported in the Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2017, a 16-year-old girl in Texas suffered from a collapsed lung after screaming too loud at a One Direction concert the night before. Remarkably, the teenager had no known underlying lung problems.
In this recent incident of karaoke-related pneumothorax, it's unknown whether the man’s age, health, or a pre-existing lung condition contributed to the mishap, however, it’s fair to assume that there may have been an underlying factor at play here.
In sum, we'd advise you to take small caution in your late-night marathon karaoke sessions, especially if your jam is the BeeGees followed up by The Beach Boys.