Do you hear a crackling noise? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be signs of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you should know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come out of nowhere? If you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
Don’t fret there’s no need to stress. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. Here are some of the more common sounds you might hear inside your ears, and what they might indicate is going on. Though the majority are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good plan to see us if any of these noises are persistent, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?
It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you may hear crackling or popping noises. These noises are caused by a tiny part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. When the pressure in these mucus lined passageways equalizes, the passages open up allowing air and mucus to circulate.
It’s an automatic system, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the overabundance of mucus in your system (don’t forget, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). There might be situations where a surgical procedure is required in more serious cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when somebody hears abnormal noises, such as vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any outside sources. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are getting low. But these noises can also be produced by too much earwax.
It seems logical 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? Your eardrum can be impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. Your tinnitus might be caused by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be connected to more severe issues such as anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health problem can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should consult with us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.
What are the strange rumblings in my ear?
This particular symptom is self-created. Sometimes, you can hear a low rumbling when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside your ears tensing in order to soften sounds you make. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely unusual cases, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other circumstances, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Individuals dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific wavelengths of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after a workout? 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 affects the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are typically used as an initial treatment to bring the fluttering under control. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
Why are my ears drumming, pumping, and pulsing so much?
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re probably right. Some of the body’s largest veins run really close to your ears, and if your heart rate is up – 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 heartbeat.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. While it’s completely 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 good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you get muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). Clicking can also happen when you swallow for similar reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some people report hearing a clicking sound when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare cases point to a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.
Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of an acute infection. You should make an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, abrupt loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.