Crackling in your ear? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you should know.
Do you hear phantom noises like thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If this is happening 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 use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have a lot more going on inside than what they appear to be externally. You might hear some of these common tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Most of these noises are short-term and innocuous but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are persistent you should schedule a consultation with us.
What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you might hear popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. 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, frequently due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the ordinarily automatic process will become disrupted. There might be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more severe cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t do the trick. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.
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, 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 the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?
There are also numerous reasons why you may hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: your batteries might be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or maybe your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But these noises can also be produced by too much earwax.
It seems logical that excessive wax could make it difficult to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax make a sound? If it’s touching your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.
Chronic buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually a kind of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, instead, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. Your tinnitus could be caused by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be associated with more serious problems like depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the underlying health condition may be.
What are the strange rumblings i’m hearing?
This particular symptom is self-produced. Occasionally, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to accomplish that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds occur so near to your ears and so often that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. In extremely rare cases, some individuals 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. Individuals dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths of sound, frequently 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 exactly like the ones 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 condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are generally used as an initial treatment to control the fluttering. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump in your ears, you’re probably right. Some of the body’s biggest 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 disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your heartbeat.
Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that’s not the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. While it’s totally 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 thumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health concern, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure inside your ears is kept in balance, as previously discussed, by the eustachian tubes. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. Clicking can also take place when you swallow for similar reasons. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare cases, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a sign of infection?
Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it could be a symptom of severe infection. You need to make an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, sudden loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you suspect that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.