Crackling in your ear? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s some info.
Do you hear phantom sounds such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If you have hearing aids, it may mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those sounds are probably coming from inside your ears if you don’t have hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have a lot more happening inside than what they appear to be on the outside. Here are a few of the more common noises you may hear inside of your ears, and what they might indicate is going on. Though most are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good plan to see us if any of these noises are persistent, cause pain, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling noises. 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 sometimes, like if you are dealing with inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the overabundance of mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). In severe situations where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage might call for surgery. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the nagging ear pain and pressure.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what does that mean?
Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. The word tinnitus refers to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those sounds don’t originate in the outside world. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for a number of reasons: your batteries may be getting low, you need a volume adjustment, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting properly in your ear. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be the result of excess earwax.
Accumulated earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it harder to hear, as well as the possibility of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. If it is touching your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
Ongoing buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds produced by earwax are actually a form of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, instead, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as simple as earwax buildup, tinnitus is also linked with conditions like anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health issue can help relieve tinnitus, so you should speak with us to find out more about ways to minimize your symptoms.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. Sometimes, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
Those sounds occur so near to your ears and so often that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. In very rare situations, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble on cue. In other cases, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS happens often in people with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and wavelengths.
What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Those flutters are typically caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as 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. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are typically used as an initial treatment to bring the fluttering under control. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an option if the medications aren’t working, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re most likely right. 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 nervous you will probably hear your own pulse.
Most forms of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that’s not the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. If your heart is racing, it’s not abnormal to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that isn’t normal.
It’s a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health concern, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. In some cases, 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 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?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. 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. A clicking can, in rare instances indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are clogged and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of an acute infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head drains of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to discuss treatments available to you.
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