Crackling in your ear? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be symptoms of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you should know.
Do you hear phantom sounds like thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If you have hearing aids, it may mean that they need adjustment or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are probably coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have a lot more going on inside than what they appear to be on the outside. You may hear some of these common tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. The majority of these noises are temporary and innocuous but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are persistent you should schedule a consultation with us.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?
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. The eustachian tube, which is a small 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.
It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you are dealing with 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 connected). There may be situations where a surgical procedure is required in more severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t do the trick. If you’re experiencing 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.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious indication of tinnitus. The term tinnitus refers to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those sounds 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?
Once again, if you wear hearing aids, you may hear these kinds 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 have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be caused by excess 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 generate sounds. If it’s pressing against your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what causes the buzzing or ringing.
And yes, significant, chronic ringing or buzzing is indicative of tinnitus. Even buzzing from excessive earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Your tinnitus could be caused by simple earwax build up but it can also be linked to more serious issues like depression and anxiety. 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 weird rumblings i’m hearing?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, you will hear a low rumble when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside of your ears contracting in order to dampen sounds you make. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
These sounds occur so frequently, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. In very rare cases, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other cases, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs often in individuals with tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering sound?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Those flutters are usually caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear 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 managed with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but success varies from procedure to procedure.
Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?
You’re likely not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Your ears are really close to some major veins and arteries and if you just did a hard workout, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will most likely hear your own pulse.
Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. If you come in to see us, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the thumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you have to live with on a daily basis.
If you do experience this thumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a good idea to come in for a consultation. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health problem, like high blood pressure, if it continues. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
The pressure inside your ears is balanced, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. Repeated clicking can often be heard when you get muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For the same reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. This is due to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. In some rare situations, chronic clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a sign of infection?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of a severe infection. You should make an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
How do I stop my ears from crackling?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.
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