Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


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

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

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. Here are a few of the more common noises you might hear inside your ears, and what they might indicate is happening. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a good plan to see us if any of these noises are persistent, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.

What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?

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. These noises are caused by a small part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. 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 inside of these passages, often due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. There could be situations where a surgical procedure is required in more severe cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t do the trick. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t get 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 word tinnitus refers to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity level of the sound can range from very quiet to deafening and most individuals will refer to it as ringing in the ears.

Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?

Once again, if you wear hearing aids, you might hear these kinds of sounds for numerous reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be the result of excess earwax.

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

And yes, significant, chronic buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. And the noises generated by earwax are actually a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is typically a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also associated with conditions 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 minimize your symptoms.

What’s causing rumbling in my ears?

This particular symptom is self-produced. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble in your ears. Your body is attempting to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to accomplish that. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds manifest so near to your ears and so frequently that the level of noise would be harmful without these muscles. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very unusual situations, be purposely controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, 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 frequencies of sound, commonly experience TTTS.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

After you workout, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Those flutters are normally the result of a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, impacts the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled using muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but success varies from procedure to procedure.

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

You’re probably not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Your ears are very 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 pulse.

Most forms of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with every day.

If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus could be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can point to a heart condition. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As noted above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. 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 situations, persistent clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.

Is ear popping a sign of infection?

Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it could be a symptom of acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule a consultation immediately. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.

How do I stop my ears from crackling?

Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to talk 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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