Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be symptoms of a condition known as tinnitus. 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 could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t have hearing aids, those sounds might just be coming from inside of your ear.

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we typically think of our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. Here are some of the more common noises you may hear inside of your ears, and what they might suggest is happening. Though most are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good idea to see us if any of these noises are persistent, cause pain, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.

What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?

It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling sounds. These sounds 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 occasionally, like if you have inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the excess mucus in your system (keep in mind, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). In severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage may require surgery. If you’re suffering from chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.

I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what does that mean?

Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telling sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical term for when somebody hears abnormal noises, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any external sources. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.

Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?

There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be caused by too much earwax.

Excess earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the possibility of an ear infection, but how can it create sounds. Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.

Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even buzzing from too much earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, instead, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. While it could be as simple as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also linked with conditions like depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you determine what the underlying health condition might be.

What’s causing my ears to rumble?

This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is attempting to soften sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to do that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.

These sounds happen so often, and are so close to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. In very rare cases, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble on cue. In other circumstances, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs often in people with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and wavelengths.

What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Muscle spasms cause those flutters exactly 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 controlled with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications aren’t working, but results vary from procedure to procedure.

I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears

You’re likely not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Some of the body’s biggest veins run very 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 tune in to the sound of your heartbeat.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other types 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 pumping and pulsing too. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with on a daily basis.

If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health concern, such as high blood pressure, if it persists. Sometimes, 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 return to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

The pressure in your ears is kept in balance, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to 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. Some people describe hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare cases indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.

Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?

Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a sign of acute infection. You need to make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.

How do I stop my ears from crackling?

Do you hear a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today