Why do I Hear Crackling in my Ear?

HEARING TIPS

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


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 some info.

Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere? If this is happening with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are probably coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.

Don’t worry there’s no need to stress. Your ears have a lot more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. You might hear some of these common tinnitus sounds and here are some signs of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and short-term), it’s a smart idea to see us if any of these noises are chronic, cause pain, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.

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. You might hear crackling or popping when you have a pressure change, whether from a change in altitude, going under water, or just yawning. 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, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.

If you have too much mucus inside of these passages, often as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become clogged and the ordinarily automatic process will become interrupted. In severe cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage might require surgery. If you’re enduring chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get diagnosed.

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

Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears unusual noises, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any outside sources. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to debilitating.

Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?

Once again, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds for a number of reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are getting low. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be the result of accumulated earwax.

Excess earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it harder to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it produce sounds. Your eardrum can be inhibited if wax is pressing against it and that can create these sounds.

And yes, significant, persistent ringing or buzzing is indicative of 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. While it could be as basic as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions like anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you determine what the underlying health condition might be.

What’s causing my ears to rumble?

This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. In some cases, you will hear a low rumble when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside your ears contracting in order to soften sounds you make. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. In extremely rare situations, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble on cue. In other cases, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have shown that TTTS happens frequently in people with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and wavelengths.

What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?

After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. 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 aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. If medications aren’t helpful, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.

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 in your ears. Your ears are very close to some major veins and arteries and if you just did a hard workout, have high blood pressure, or are very nervous you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.

Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that isn’t the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing as well. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with on a daily basis.

It’s a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health concern, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. Sometimes, 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 workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.

What’s this clicking sound?

The pressure inside your ears is balanced, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. 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 trigger a repeated clicking sound. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for similar reasons. This is caused by the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare cases indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.

Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?

Ear infections sometimes produce swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of a severe infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule an appointment right away. 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? Come in and consult with us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.

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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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