Do you hear a crackling noise? A condition called tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you should know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come from nowhere? If you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are most likely coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we typically think of our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. Here are some of the more common sounds you might hear inside your ears, and what they may suggest is going on. Most of these sounds are short-term and harmless but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are persistent you should get a consultation with us.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s causing it
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. You could 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 tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you are dealing with inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the excess mucus in your system (keep in mind, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). There could be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more extreme cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. You should make 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?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. The term tinnitus refers to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those sounds don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity of the sound can range from extremely quiet to deafening and most individuals will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you have hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: your batteries may be running low, you need a volume adjustment, or maybe your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But these noises can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.
Excess earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it harder to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it produce sounds. If it is pressing against your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds produced by earwax are actually a kind of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, instead, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. Your tinnitus could be triggered by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be linked to more severe issues such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help relieve tinnitus, so you should contact us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.
What are the peculiar rumblings i’m hearing?
This particular symptom is self-created. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble. Your body is attempting to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to do that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely rare situations, be purposely controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have shown that TTTS happens often in individuals with tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and wavelengths.
What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?
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 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. Usually, this condition is initially managed with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re probably right. Some of the body’s biggest veins run really 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 heartbeat.
Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the case with pulsatile tinnitus. If you come in to see us, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the thumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. If your heart is pounding, it’s not unusual to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that’s not normal.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in for a consultation. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus could be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As noted above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. For a similar reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some individuals report hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare instances, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the little bones in your ear.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it might be a symptom of severe infection. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, such as ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule an appointment immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you believe that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.