Crackling in your ear? A condition called tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s some info.
Do you hear phantom noises like thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If this is happening with hearing aids, it might 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 much more going on inside than what they appear to be externally. You might hear some of these prevalent tinnitus sounds and here are some signs of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good idea to see us if any of these noises are chronic, cause pain, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you might hear crackling or popping noises. These noises are caused by a small part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. When the pressure in these mucus lined passageways equalizes, the passages open up allowing air and mucus to circulate.
If you have too much mucus inside of these passages, frequently due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can become clogged and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. In serious situations where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage might call for surgical intervention. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the nagging ear pain and pressure.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical term for when a person hears abnormal sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any external sources. The intensity of the sound can range from extremely quiet to deafening and most individuals will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these kinds of sounds for numerous reasons: your batteries may be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting properly in your ear. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of noise, it could also be caused by excess earwax.
It makes sense that excessive wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax produce a sound? If it’s pressing against your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.
And yes, significant, persistent buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health issue can help relieve tinnitus, so you should speak with us to find out more about ways to reduce your symptoms.
What are the strange rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble in your ears. Your body is attempting to soften sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so frequently that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely unusual cases, be intentionally controlled to generate this rumbling. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. People dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain frequencies of sound, frequently experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering noise?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after a workout? Those flutters are typically caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear 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 managed with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?
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 largest 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 disorder 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 case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing as well. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with every day.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing every day, it’s probably a good idea to come in for a consultation. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health problem, like high blood pressure, if it continues. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. Repeated clicking can often be heard when you get muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For the same reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare cases indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Ear infections sometimes produce swelling which can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of a severe infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head drains of mucus, your ears will pop.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you suspect that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.