Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come from nowhere? If you have hearing aids, it may mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we typically think of our ears with respect to 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. Most of these sounds are short-term 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 causing it
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you might hear crackling or popping sounds. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the excess mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). In extreme cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage may call for surgery. 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?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious indication of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when somebody hears unusual sounds, like 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 noticeable to debilitating.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these kinds of sounds for a number of reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are getting low. But these noises can also be produced by too much earwax.
Accumulated earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it harder to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it produce sounds. If it’s pressing against your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
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 commonly a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Your tinnitus may be caused by simple earwax build up but it can also be linked to more severe issues like anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the root health condition might be.
What are the strange rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. Occasionally, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble. Your body is trying to soften sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so near to your ears and so often that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. In very rare cases, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble at will. In other cases, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. People suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.
What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?
After you workout, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters just 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. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are commonly used as an initial treatment to control the fluttering. 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 likely not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat in your ears. Your ears are very close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will probably hear your own pulse.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing too. If your heart is pounding, it’s not abnormal to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that’s not normal.
If you do experience this pumping 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 condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health problem, such as high blood pressure, if it persists. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of a heart condition, so it’s important to relate any heart health history to us. 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?
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 example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking noise. For a similar reason, you might 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 cases point to a fracture of one of the small 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 clogged and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be an indication of an acute infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you suspect that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.