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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 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 sounds are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t have 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 on the outside. Here are a few of the more common noises you might hear inside your ears, and what they might suggest is going on. Most of these sounds are temporary and harmless but if you have tinnitus sounds that are painful or are chronic you should get a consultation with us.

There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?

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 could hear popping or crackling noises. These noises are caused by a small 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.

If you have an excess of mucus in these passages, often as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. There might be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more extreme cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re experiencing 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 sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. The word 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 extremely quiet to deafening and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.

Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?

There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: your batteries may be getting low, you need a volume adjustment, or maybe 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 noise, it could also be caused by excess earwax.

It makes sense that too much wax could make it tough to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax make a sound? If it is touching your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what causes the buzzing or ringing.

Ongoing buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is usually a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as basic as wax buildup, tinnitus is also related to conditions like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should contact us to find out more about ways to minimize your symptoms.

What’s causing my ears to rumble?

This particular symptom is self-created. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside of your ears contracting in order to soften sounds you make. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds occur so near to your ears and so frequently that the level of noise would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very rare cases, be purposely controlled to generate this rumbling. In other circumstances, people 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 wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are typically caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also called MEM tinnitus, is a condition that impacts the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled using muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. If medications aren’t helpful, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.

I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears

You’re probably not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Your ears are really close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very nervous you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike 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 pumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with on a daily basis.

If you do experience this thumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in for a consultation. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it could 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 talk about your heart with us. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus empties 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. If your ears are popping, it could be a sign of severe infection. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, such as pain in the ear, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule a consultation right away. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.

How do I stop my ears from crackling?

Do you believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to discuss treatments available to you.

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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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