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Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Do you hear a crackling noise? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know.

Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come from nowhere? If you use hearing aids, it may mean that they need adjustment or aren’t correctly fitted. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those noises might just be coming from inside of your ear.

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have a lot more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. Here are a few of the more common sounds you might hear inside of your ears, and what they might indicate is happening. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart plan to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.

What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?

It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling sounds. The eustachian tube, which is a small tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.

If you have too much mucus inside of these passages, often due to allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become clogged and the ordinarily automatic process will become disrupted. There may be situations where a surgery is called for in more serious cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re experiencing chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.

I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?

Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical term for when someone hears abnormal sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any external sources. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to debilitating.

Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?

There are also several reasons why you may hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.

Excess earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it produce sounds. Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.

Ongoing buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. Your tinnitus could be triggered by simple earwax build up but it can also be connected to more severe issues such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should consult with us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.

What are the peculiar rumblings in my ear?

This next symptom is less prevalent 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 can hear a low rumble in your ears. Your body is attempting to soften sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to do that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.

Those sounds manifest 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 produce that rumble on cue. In other circumstances, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have shown that TTTS happens often in individuals who have tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Those flutters are typically the result of a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are commonly used as an initial treatment to bring the fluttering under control. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but success varies from procedure to procedure.

I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears

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 biggest veins run very 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.

Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that’s not the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. If your heart is pounding, it’s not unusual to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that isn’t normal.

If you do experience this pumping or pulsing every day, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus could be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can point to a heart condition. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking sound. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for similar reasons. This is caused by the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. Some people describe hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare situations, chronic clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.

Is ear popping a symptom of infection?

Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of an acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation right away. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.

Can I stop this crackling in my ears?

Do you believe that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to talk about treatments available to you.

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References

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uf9680
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24289817/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23571302/

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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