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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 buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. 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 can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds might just be coming from inside your ear.

Don’t worry there’s no need to stress. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. Here are a few of the more common sounds you might hear inside your ears, and what they may suggest is going on. Most of these sounds are short-term and innocuous but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful 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 isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. You may hear crackling or popping when you have a pressure change, whether from a change in altitude, going under water, or just yawning. These noises are caused by a small part of your ear called 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 inside of these passages, often as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. In severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage might 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 does that mean?

Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to unbearable.

Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?

Again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are running low. But these noises can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.

It makes sense that too much 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 impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.

Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the noises produced by earwax are actually a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is typically a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Your tinnitus could be triggered by simple earwax build up but it can also be linked to more severe issues such as anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should contact us to learn more about ways to minimize your symptoms.

What are the peculiar rumblings in my ear?

This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.

Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so frequently that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very unusual cases, be purposely controlled to generate this rumbling. In other circumstances, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. People suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific 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. Those flutters are normally the result of a muscle spasm, and it’s no different from the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled with 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

If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing inside your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s largest veins run very 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.

Most kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that isn’t the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. If your heart is racing, it’s not unusual to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that’s not normal.

It’s a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it persists. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsitile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you get muscle spasms in the muscles close to the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For a similar reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is caused by the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally 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.

Is ear popping an indication of infection?

Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a symptom of severe infection. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, like pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule a consultation immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.

Can I stop this crackling in my ears?

Do you believe that the crackling noise 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.
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