Do you hear a crackling sound? A condition called tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you need to know.
Do you hear phantom noises such as thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If you have hearing aids, it can mean that they need adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds might just be coming from inside of your ear.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have much more going on inside than what they appear to be on the outside. Here are a few 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 chronic, cause pain, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling noises. These sounds are caused by a small part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
If you have an excess of mucus inside of these passages, frequently due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the ordinarily automatic process will get interrupted. In severe cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage might call for surgical intervention. You should schedule an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the nagging ear pain and pressure.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those sounds don’t originate in the outside world. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to debilitating.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are getting low. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this type of sound, it could also be the result of accumulated earwax.
It makes sense that too much wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax produce a sound? Your eardrum can be inhibited if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a kind 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 linked with conditions like anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you determine what the root health condition may be.
What’s causing my ears to rumble?
This particular symptom is self-created. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to do that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
These sounds happen so often, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very unusual situations, be intentionally controlled to generate this rumbling. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. People dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering noise?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are typically caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s no different from the fluttering you hear in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also called MEM tinnitus, is a condition that affects the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are commonly used as a first-round treatment to bring the fluttering under control. If medications aren’t helpful, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
You’re likely not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Your ears are really close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will probably hear your own heartbeat.
This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing too. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it should not be something you have to live with on a daily basis.
It’s a smart idea to come see us if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health problem, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of a heart condition, so it’s important to relate any heart health history to us. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. Repeated clicking can often be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles close to the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For the same reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is caused by the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare instances, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a sign of infection?
Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be an indication of an acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation right away. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head drains of mucus, your ears will pop.
How do I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you believe that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.