Audio Life Hearing Center- Knoxville, TN

Man touching ear in response to crackling noises in his ear.

Ever hear sounds that seem to come from nowhere, such as crackling, buzzing or thumping? If you have hearing aids, it might mean that they require adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But if you don’t wear hearing aids the noises are originating from inside your ear. But don’t panic. Even though we generally think of our ears with respect to what we see on the outside, there’s much more than what you see. Different noises you might be hearing inside of your ears could mean different things. Here are some of the most prevalent. You should schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist if any of these are impeding your quality of life or are painful and persistent, although the majority are brief and harmless.

Crackling or Popping

When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater or simply yawning, you might hear crackling or popping noises. The eustachian tube, a very small part of your ear, is where these sounds originate. When the mucus-lined passageway opens to allow air and fluid to flow, these crackling sounds are produced. It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, the passageway can literally get gummed up. sometimes surgery is needed in serious cases when the blockage isn’t improved by decongestants or antibiotics. You should probably see a hearing professional if you feel pressure or persistent pain.

Ringing or Buzzing is it Tinnitus?

It might not be your ears at all if you have hearing aids, as mentioned before. If you aren’t using hearing aids, earwax may be the issue. Itchiness or even ear infections make sense when it comes to earwax, and it’s not unusual that it could make hearing challenging, but how does it create these noises? The buzzing or ringing is caused when the wax is pressing against the eardrum and inhibiting its movement. Fortunately, it’s easily fixed: You can get the excess wax removed professionally. (This is not a DIY job!) Intense, prolonged buzzing or ringing is called tinnitus. There are a number of types of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus is a symptom of some kind of health problem and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Besides the buildup of wax, tinnitus can also be connected to depression and anxiety. Tinnitus can be eased by treating the root health concern; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This sound is caused by our own body and is much less common. Have you ever noticed how sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumbling? There are tiny muscles in the ear that contract in order to minimize the internal volume of certain natural actions such as your own voice or chewing or yawning, It’s the contraction of these muscles in response to these natural sounds that we hear as rumbling. Activities, such as yawning and chewing, are so close to your ears that even though they are not really loud, they can still harming your hearing. (And since you can’t stop speaking or chewing, we’ll stick with the muscles, thanks!) It’s very unusual, but some people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to create that rumble whenever they want.

Thumping or Pulsing

Your probably not far of the mark if you at times think you hear a heartbeat in your ears. Some of the body’s biggest veins are very close to your ears, and if your heart rate’s high, whether it’s from a tough workout or an important job interview, your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the name for this, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that not only you hear, if you go to see a hearing expert, he or she will be able to hear it too. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, if it’s something you’re dealing with on a regular basis, it’s a smart move to see a doctor. Like other sorts of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; if it continues, it may indicate a health issue. Because your heart rate should come back to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when your heart rate goes back to normal.

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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