What is the meaning of "bucket on the head" in this context?

Patulous Eustachian tube […] is a physical disorder where the Eustachian tube, which is normally closed, instead stays intermittently open. When this occurs, the patient experiences autophony, the hearing of self-generated sounds. These sounds, such as one's own breathing, voice, and heartbeat, vibrate directly onto the ear drum and can create a "bucket on the head" effect.


  • Please edit your question and provide a link to your source.
    – user6951
    May 25, 2015 at 1:45
  • 5
    The sounds you would hear if you put a bucket over your head... You would hear the internalized sounds mentioned in the quote.
    – user3169
    May 25, 2015 at 2:18
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  • "Head in a bucket" might make a little more sense, but "on" is used because the bottom of the bucket will be on your head (think in the same manner as you wear a cap or helmet on your head).
    – LawrenceC
    May 25, 2015 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


Firstly, "Bucket on the head" is not an idiom or an expression used in English. I think the phrase "Bucket on the head" is used literally here. What happens when you put your head in a bucket and stand still? You can hear yourself breathe. The echoes of your respiration will be caught by your ear drums. You can hear every 'sigh' and 'gulp', in a magnified intensity. These are things you generally don't hear (or notice). But when your head is in a bucket, the closure of the bucket helps you hear every single breath, every heartbeat.

Since the context talks about the same things I've mentioned, I don't think "bucket on the head" has any other meaning here.

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