Do you hear a crackling noise? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be signs 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 this is occurring with hearing aids, it may 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 have hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we mostly view 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 sounds you may hear inside of your ears, and what they might indicate is happening. Though most are harmless (and temporary), it’s a good plan to see us if any of these noises are persistent, painful, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s causing it
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you could hear crackling or popping sounds. 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.
If you have an excess of mucus in these passages, often as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. In severe situations where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage could call for surgery. If you’re suffering from persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get diagnosed.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears unusual noises, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any outside sources. 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 triggering this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these kinds of sounds for a number of reasons: your batteries might be running low, you need a volume adjustment, or maybe your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But these sounds can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.
Accumulated earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more challenging to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. Your eardrum can be inhibited if wax is pressing against it and that can produce 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 usually a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also associated with conditions such as 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 are the unusual rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less common 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. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside of your ears tensing in order to dampen sounds you make. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so frequently that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. In very rare cases, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. People suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths 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 just like the ones 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 with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
You’re likely not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Your ears are very 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 probably hear your own heartbeat.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it should not be something you need to live with every day.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a good idea to come in for a consultation. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to 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 pumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure in your ears is kept in balance, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. Repeated clicking can frequently 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 people describe hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare instances, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a sign of infection?
Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be an indication 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, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
How do I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.