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 need to know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come from nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
Don’t worry there’s no need to panic. Even though we typically view our ears with respect to 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 noises you might hear inside your ears, and what they might suggest is happening. The majority of these noises are short-term and harmless but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are persistent you should schedule a consultation with us.
What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling sounds. 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, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
If you have too much mucus in these passages, frequently due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get clogged and the normally automatic process will become interrupted. There may be situations where a surgery is required in more severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. You should make 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 does that mean?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when a person hears unusual noises, like 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 manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to debilitating.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these kinds of sounds for a number of reasons: 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 use hearing aids and you’re hearing this type of noise, it could also be caused by accumulated earwax.
Excess earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the possibility of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. Your eardrum can be impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can create these sounds.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Your tinnitus could be caused by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be linked to more serious issues such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should consult with us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.
What are the strange rumblings i’m hearing?
This particular symptom is self-produced. In some cases, you will hear a low rumble when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside of your ears contracting in order to dampen sounds you make. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very unusual situations, be purposely controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs frequently in people with tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and frequencies.
What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after a workout? Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters exactly like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also called MEM tinnitus, is a condition that impacts the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are commonly used as an initial treatment to bring the fluttering under control. 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 sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing inside 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 up – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical condition like high blood pressure – your ears will tune in to the sound of your heartbeat.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it should not be something you need to live with every day.
It’s a smart idea to come see us if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it persists. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to 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 go back to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
The pressure inside your ears is kept in balance, as previously discussed, by the eustachian tubes. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you get 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. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus empties from the head. A clicking can, in rare instances point to a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.
Does it mean I’m dealing with 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 an indication of severe infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.