Do you hear a crackling sound? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds 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 may mean that they need adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But those noises are most likely coming from inside of your ears if you don’t have hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we generally think of our ears with respect to what we see externally, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. You might hear some of these prevalent tinnitus noises and here are some signs of what they might be telling you about your hearing. Most of these noises are short-term and innocuous but if you have tinnitus noises that cause pain or are persistent 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. You may hear popping or crackling when you have a pressure change, whether from going underwater, a change in altitude, or just yawning. The eustachian tube, which is a small tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
If you have too much mucus in these passages, often as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get clogged and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. There could be situations where a surgery 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 find 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 sometimes a telling sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears abnormal noises, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any external sources. The intensity level of the sound can range from extremely quiet to earsplitting and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
Again, if you wear hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: your batteries might be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this type of noise, it could also be caused by excess earwax.
Too much earwax is well known to cause 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 touching your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.
Chronic buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as basic as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also linked with conditions like anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the root health condition may be.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one causing the sound. Sometimes, you can hear a low rumble when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside your ears tensing in order to dampen sounds you make. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
These sounds happen so frequently, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. In extremely rare situations, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other circumstances, a condition known as 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 frequencies of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering noise?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after exercising? Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters exactly like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as MEM tinnitus, is a condition that impacts the aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump in your ears, you’re most likely right. Your ears are very close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very nervous you will probably hear your own heartbeat.
Most forms of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. 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 absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it should not be something you need to live with on a daily basis.
It’s a smart idea to come see us if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus could be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of a heart condition, so it’s important to relate any heart health history to us. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as 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 often be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles close to the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some individuals report hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare instances, chronic clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it might 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, after an infection, as your head drains of mucus, your ears will pop.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.