Do you hear a crackling noise? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be signs of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you should know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are probably coming from inside of your ears if you don’t have hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have much more going on inside than what they appear to be on the outside. Here are a few of the more common noises you might hear inside your ears, and what they may suggest is going on. Most of these sounds are temporary and innocuous but if you have tinnitus sounds 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 the cause?
We can tell you one thing, it’s not the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
If you have too much mucus in these passages, often due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get clogged and the ordinarily automatic process will get interrupted. There might be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more severe cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the constant 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. Technically, tinnitus is the medical term for when a person 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 there to unbearable.
Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?
There are also numerous reasons why you may hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are running low. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of noise, it could also be caused by accumulated earwax.
Too much earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.
And yes, significant, chronic buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is typically a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Your tinnitus might be triggered by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be connected to more serious issues such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should consult with us to learn more about ways to reduce your symptoms.
What are the weird rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is attempting to dampen 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.
These sounds occur so often, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. In very rare situations, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble at will. In other circumstances, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs frequently in individuals with tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering noise?
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. Usually, this condition is initially managed with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump in your ears, you’re probably right. Some of the body’s largest veins run really close to your ears, and if your heart rate is up – whether from a tough workout, big job interview, or a medical condition like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other types of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. If you come in to see us, 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 racing, it should not be something you need to live with on a daily basis.
It’s a good 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, such as high blood pressure, if it persists. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to 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 returns to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you get 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 the same reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare instances point to a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are clogged and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a symptom of severe infection. You should make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. 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 noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.