Do you hear a crackling sound? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you should know.
Do you hear phantom noises like thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? 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 panic. Even though we generally 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 a few of the more common noises you might hear inside of your ears, and what they might suggest is happening. The majority of these noises are short-term and innocuous but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are chronic you should get a consultation with us.
What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. You could hear popping or crackling 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.
If you have an excess of mucus inside of these passages, often due to allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. In severe situations where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage might require surgical intervention. If you’re enduring persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a disorder where noises are heard in the ears but those sounds don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity of the sound can range from very 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 several reasons why you may hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be caused by accumulated earwax.
Too much 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 create sounds. Your eardrum can be inhibited if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.
Chronic buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. And the noises produced by earwax are actually a kind 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 may be triggered by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be connected to more severe issues such as anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should consult with us to learn more about ways to reduce your symptoms.
What are the strange rumblings i’m hearing?
This specific symptom is self-produced. In some cases, you will hear a low rumble when you yawn. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to accomplish that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
These sounds take place so frequently, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very unusual situations, be intentionally controlled to generate this rumbling. In other cases, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Individuals dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain frequencies of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering sound?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Muscle spasms cause those flutters just 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. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are typically used as a first-round treatment to control the fluttering. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
Why are my ears drumming, pumping, and pulsing so much?
You’re probably not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Some of the body’s largest veins run really 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 unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. 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. If your heart is pounding, it’s not unusual to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that isn’t normal.
It’s a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health problem, like high blood pressure, if it continues. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. 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.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. 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 a similar reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is due to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. Some individuals report hearing a clicking sound when their head drains of mucus. In some rare cases, persistent clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the little bones in your ear.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Ear infections sometimes produce swelling which can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be an indication of a severe infection. You should make an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, sudden loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.