Hearing Health Blog

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Do you hear a crackling sound? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s some info.

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

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we typically view our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this case, the ear. You might hear some of these prevalent tinnitus noises and here are some signs of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Most of these noises are temporary and harmless but if you have tinnitus sounds that cause pain or are chronic you should schedule a consultation with us.

There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s causing it

It’s not 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 popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.

If you have too much mucus in these passages, often due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can become clogged and the normally automatic process will become interrupted. In extreme cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage could require surgical intervention. If you’re enduring 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 could that mean?

Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telltale sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus refers 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 individuals will refer to it as ringing in the ears.

Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?

There are also numerous reasons why you might hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.

Excess earwax is well known to create 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 pressing against your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.

Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the noises produced by earwax are actually a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as basic as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also associated with conditions like depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the underlying health condition might be.

What are the strange rumblings i’m hearing?

This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble in your ears. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside your ears contracting in order to dampen sounds you make. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. In extremely rare cases, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other circumstances, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs frequently in people who have tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and wavelengths.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

After you workout, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters just 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. Usually, this condition is initially managed 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.

I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears

If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s biggest veins run really close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a tough workout, big job interview, or a medical condition like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your heartbeat.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to 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 thumping and pulsing too. If your heart is pounding, it’s not unusual to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that isn’t normal.

If you do experience this thumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a good idea to come in and see us. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health problem, like high blood pressure, if it continues. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can point to a heart condition. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.

What’s this clicking sound?

The pressure inside your ears is kept in balance, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. 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. For the same reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus empties from the head. A clicking can, in rare instances point to a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.

Is ear popping a sign of infection?

Sometimes, an ear infection causes the feeling that your ears are clogged and the inflammation can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it could be a sign of severe infection. You should make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.

How do I stop my ears from crackling?

Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and think you may have 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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