Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


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

Do you hear phantom sounds such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If this is happening with hearing aids, it might mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have a lot more going on inside than what they appear to be externally. You might hear some of these prevalent tinnitus sounds and here are some signs of what they might be telling you about your hearing. Though most are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart idea to see us if any of these noises are persistent, painful, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.

What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?

We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you could hear crackling or popping sounds. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny 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 too much mucus inside of these passages, often as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. In severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage could call for surgery. If you’re experiencing 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 could that mean?

Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a disorder where sounds are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity of the sound can range from really quiet to deafening and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.

Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?

Again, if you wear hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds for a number of reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too loud, 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 caused by excess earwax.

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

Ongoing buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually 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 might be triggered by simple earwax build up but it can also be connected to more severe issues such as anxiety and depression. 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 peculiar rumblings i’m hearing?

This particular symptom is self-produced. Occasionally, 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 turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

These sounds take place so frequently, and are so close to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. In extremely rare situations, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble on cue. 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 sound in my ear?

After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are normally caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as MEM tinnitus, is a condition that affects the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially managed 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

If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump inside your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s biggest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical condition 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 forms 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 totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it shouldn’t be something you need to live with every day.

It’s a smart idea to come see us if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of 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 go back to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. If you get 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 noise. For the same reason, you might 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 drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare cases point to a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.

Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?

Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of an acute infection. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule an appointment immediately. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.

How do I stop my ears from crackling?

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