Crackling in your ear? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you should know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it might mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those noises are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t have hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Your ears have much more going on inside than what they appear to be externally. You may hear some of these prevalent tinnitus noises and here are some signs of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart plan to see us if any of these noises are chronic, cause pain, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you might hear popping or crackling sounds. These sounds are caused by a tiny part of your ear called 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.
It’s an automatic process, but occasionally, like if you are dealing with inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the overabundance of mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). In severe situations where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage may require surgery. 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?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telling sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a condition where sounds are heard in the ears but those sounds don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity level of the sound can range from really quiet to earsplitting and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
Once again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for a number of 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 type of noise, it could also be due to accumulated earwax.
Too much earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more challenging to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it create sounds. Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.
And yes, significant, persistent buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is usually 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 earwax buildup, tinnitus is also associated with conditions like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should speak with us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.
What are the strange rumblings in my ear?
This particular symptom is self-created. Occasionally, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble in your ears. Your body is trying 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.
These sounds occur so frequently, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely rare cases, be intentionally controlled to generate this rumbling. In other cases, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. People suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific wavelengths of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Those flutters are usually caused by 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 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 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. 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 disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your heartbeat.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. If you come in for a consultation, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the thumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you have to live with every day.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing every day, it’s probably a good idea to come in and see us. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health concern, such as high blood pressure, if it persists. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsitile tinnitus can point to a heart condition. But if you just had a hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As noted above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles close to the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For a similar reason, you may 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, chronic clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.
Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?
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 need to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever. 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 sound in your ears is tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to talk about treatments available to you.