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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 this is occurring with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds may just be coming from inside of your ear.

Don’t fret there’s no need to stress. Even though we generally view our ears with respect to what we see externally, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this case, the ear. Here are some of the more common sounds you may hear inside your ears, and what they might suggest is happening. Though most are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good idea to see us if any of these noises are persistent, 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 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 small tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. 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 as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become clogged and the ordinarily automatic process will get interrupted. In severe situations where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage may require surgical intervention. If you’re suffering from persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get diagnosed.

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

Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. The word tinnitus refers to a disorder where sounds are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to unbearable.

Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?

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

Accumulated earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it create sounds. If it is touching your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.

Chronic buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Your tinnitus may be triggered by simple earwax build up but it can also be associated with more serious problems like anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should contact us to find out more about ways to minimize your symptoms.

What are the weird rumblings i’m hearing?

This specific symptom is self-created. Sometimes, you can hear a low rumble when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside of your ears contracting in order to dampen sounds you make. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so frequently that the level of noise would be harmful without these muscles. In very rare situations, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble on cue. In other circumstances, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs often in people with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and wavelengths.

What about a fluttering sound?

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 affects the aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are typically used as an initial treatment to bring the fluttering under control. 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 likely not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat in your ears. Some of the body’s biggest veins run really 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 pulse.

Most forms of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that’s not the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. If you come in to see us, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the pumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. If your heart is pounding, it’s not unusual to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that’s not normal.

It’s a smart idea to come see us if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it could 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 talk about your heart with us. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.

What’s this clicking sound?

The pressure in your ears is balanced, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. For the same reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. This is due to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare situations, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.

Is ear popping a sign of infection?

Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it could be an indication of acute infection. You should schedule an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.

How can I stop my ears from crackling?

Do you suspect that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine 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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