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 some info.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come from nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
Don’t worry there’s no need to stress. Even though we typically think of our ears in terms of what we see externally, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. Here are some of the more common sounds you might hear inside your ears, and what they might indicate is happening. Most of these noises are short-term and harmless 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
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. You could 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. 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 from 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 serious cases where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage could 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.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when somebody hears unusual sounds, such as vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any external sources. The intensity of the sound can range from extremely quiet to earsplitting and most individuals will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?
There are also numerous reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: 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 the result of accumulated earwax.
Too much 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 produce sounds. If it is touching 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 coping with tinnitus. And the sounds produced by earwax are actually a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as simple as wax buildup, tinnitus is also associated with conditions like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should consult with us to learn more about ways to decrease your symptoms.
What are the unusual rumblings in my ear?
This specific symptom is self-produced. Occasionally, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble in your ears. Your body is attempting to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so frequently that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely unusual cases, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs frequently in individuals who have tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering noise?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are usually 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, impacts the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially managed using muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
Why are my ears drumming, pumping, and pulsing so much?
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump inside 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 anxious you will probably hear your own heartbeat.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. If you come in for a consultation, 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 pounding, it should not be something you have to live with every day.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in for a consultation. 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 talk about your heart with us. But if you just had a hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure in your ears is balanced, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. For the same reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus drains from the head. In some rare cases, chronic clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.
Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?
Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of an acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.