Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.
Do you hear phantom sounds such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But those sounds are probably coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we generally view our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this case, the ear. Here are some of the more common sounds you may hear inside your ears, and what they may indicate is happening. Though most are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good idea to see us if any of these noises are persistent, cause pain, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. You might hear crackling or popping when you have a pressure change, whether from going underwater, a change in altitude, or just yawning. The eustachian tube, which is a small tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
It’s an automatic system, but sometimes, like if you are dealing with inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the overabundance of mucus in your system (keep in mind, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). In serious cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage may require surgical intervention. You should schedule an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus refers to a condition where sounds are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity of the sound can range from really quiet to deafening and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?
There are also several reasons why you may hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are getting low. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be due to accumulated earwax.
It makes sense that excessive wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax produce a sound? If it is touching your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
Chronic buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, rather, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help relieve tinnitus, so you should consult with us to learn more about ways to reduce your symptoms.
What are the peculiar rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside your ears tensing in order to dampen sounds you make. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so frequently that the level of noise would be harmful without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very unusual cases, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs often in individuals with tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and wavelengths.
What about a fluttering noise?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Those flutters are normally caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as MEM tinnitus, is a condition that impacts the aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are generally used as a first-round treatment to bring the fluttering under control. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an option if the medications aren’t working, but success varies from procedure to procedure.
I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears
If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing inside your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s largest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse.
Most kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing as well. If your heart is pounding, it’s not abnormal to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that isn’t normal.
It’s a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
As noted above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking noise. For the same reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is due to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. In some rare cases, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.
Is ear popping an indication of infection?
Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a sign of acute infection. You should make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, abrupt loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you believe that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to talk about treatments available to you.