Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Do you hear a crackling noise? A condition called tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s some info.

Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come from nowhere? If you use hearing aids, it may mean that they need adjustment or aren’t correctly fitted. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds may just be coming from inside your ear.

This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we generally view our ears with respect to what we see externally, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. Here are some of the more common noises you might hear inside of your ears, and what they might indicate is happening. The majority of these sounds are short-term and harmless but if you have tinnitus sounds that cause pain or are chronic you should schedule a consultation with us.

There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?

We can tell you one thing, it’s not the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. When the pressure in these mucus lined passageways equalizes, the passages open up allowing air and mucus to circulate.

If you have an excess of mucus in these passages, frequently as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the ordinarily automatic process will get disrupted. In severe situations where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage may require surgical intervention. You should schedule an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the nagging ear pain and pressure.

I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?

Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical term for when a person hears unusual noises, such as vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any outside sources. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to debilitating.

Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?

There are also several reasons why you may hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be produced by too much earwax.

It makes sense that too much wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax make a sound? If it is pressing against your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.

Ongoing buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even buzzing from too much earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, rather, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also associated with conditions like anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the root health condition might be.

What’s causing my ears to rumble?

This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one causing the sound. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.

Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so often that the level of noise would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in extremely unusual situations, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other circumstances, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs often in individuals with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and frequencies.

What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after a workout? Those flutters are usually caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s no different from the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.

Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?

If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing inside your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s biggest 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 tune in to the sound of your heartbeat.

Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that’s not the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you need to live with on a daily basis.

If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health concern, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. In some cases, 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 hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.

What’s this clicking sound?

The pressure inside your ears is kept in balance, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also occur when you swallow for the same reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare situations, chronic clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.

Is ear popping a symptom of infection?

Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are clogged and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it might be an indication of acute infection. You should make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.

How can I stop my ears from crackling?

Do you believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.

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References

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uf9680
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24289817/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23571302/

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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