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? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.

Do you hear phantom noises such as thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it may mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds might just be coming from inside your ear.

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we mostly view our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. You may hear some of these common tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they might be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a good idea to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.

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

It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. You might hear popping or crackling when you have a pressure change, whether from going underwater, a change in altitude, or just yawning. These sounds are caused by a tiny part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure inside your ears.

It’s an automatic system, but occasionally, like if you are dealing with inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the excess mucus in your system (keep in mind, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). In severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage may call for surgical intervention. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t find 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 in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears abnormal noises, such as vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any external sources. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to debilitating.

Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?

There are also numerous reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: your batteries might be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting properly in your ear. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this type of sound, it could also be caused by excess earwax.

It seems logical that excessive wax could make it tough to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax make a sound? Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.

Ongoing buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is usually 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 like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health issue can help relieve tinnitus, so you should contact us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.

What are the weird rumblings i’m hearing?

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

Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so often that the level of noise would be harmful without these muscles. In extremely rare cases, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other cases, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs often in individuals who have tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and wavelengths.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Muscle spasms cause those flutters exactly like the ones 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 disorder. If medications don’t help, 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 inside 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 pick up the sound of your pulse.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other types of tinnitus, it’s one that other people 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 daily, it’s probably a good idea to come in and see us. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.

What’s this clicking sound?

As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. Repeated clicking can often be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). Clicking can also occur 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. In some rare instances, chronic clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.

Is ear popping a sign of infection?

Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a symptom of severe infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule an appointment immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.

How can I stop my ears from crackling?

Do you believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and see 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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