Why do I Hear Crackling in my Ear?

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be symptoms of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.

Do you hear phantom sounds such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it may mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t have hearing aids.

This doesn’t mean you should panic. Your ears have a lot more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. Here are a few of the more common noises you might hear inside of your ears, and what they may suggest is going on. Most of these noises are temporary and harmless but if you have tinnitus noises that cause pain or are persistent you should get a consultation with us.

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

It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. You might hear popping or crackling when you have a pressure change, whether from a change in altitude, going underwater, or just yawning. 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 inside your ears.

If you have an excess of mucus in these passages, often as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the ordinarily automatic process will become interrupted. In extreme cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage might require surgery. If you’re suffering from persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get diagnosed.

What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?

Vibrations in the ear are sometimes 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. The intensity level of the sound can range from very quiet to deafening and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.

Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?

There are also numerous 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 getting low. But these sounds can also be produced by too much earwax.

It seems logical that excessive wax could make it tough to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax produce a sound? If it is pressing against your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.

Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually 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. While it could be as simple as earwax buildup, tinnitus is also related to conditions like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should contact us to find out more about ways to minimize your symptoms.

What are the peculiar rumblings in my ear?

This particular symptom is self-produced. In some cases, you will hear a low rumble when you yawn. 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.

These sounds take place so often, and are so close to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very rare situations, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS happens frequently in people with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and frequencies.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after a workout? Muscle spasms cause those flutters just like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as MEM tinnitus, is a condition that impacts the aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled using muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications aren’t working, but results vary from procedure to procedure.

I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears

If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing inside your ears, you’re most likely right. 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 pulse.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to 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 thumping of your pulsitile tinnitus. If your heart is racing, it’s not abnormal to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that’s not normal.

It’s a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it persists. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsitile tinnitus can indicate 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.

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 are close to the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for the same reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some people report hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare cases indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.

Is ear popping an indication of infection?

Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are clogged and the inflammation can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a sign of severe infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule an appointment immediately. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.

How can I stop my ears from crackling?

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.

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.