Do you hear a crackling sound? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be signs of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come out of nowhere? If you have hearing aids, it can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t have hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we generally view our ears with respect to what we see externally, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. You may hear some of these prevalent tinnitus sounds and here are some signs of what they might be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a good plan to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?
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 under water, or just yawning. These sounds are caused by a tiny part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the overabundance of mucus in your system (don’t forget, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). There could be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re enduring persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get diagnosed.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what does that mean?
In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious indication of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears abnormal sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any outside sources. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to debilitating.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
Again, if you wear hearing aids, you might hear these kinds of sounds for a number of reasons: your batteries may be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or maybe 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 due to accumulated earwax.
Excess earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more challenging to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. Your eardrum can be impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.
And yes, significant, persistent buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. Even buzzing from excessive earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. While it could be as basic as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions like anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should consult with us to find out more about ways to minimize your symptoms.
What are the peculiar rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is trying 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.
Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so frequently that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. In extremely rare cases, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble at will. In other cases, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs often in people who have tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering sound?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters exactly like the ones 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 controlled with 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.
Why are my ears drumming, pumping, and pulsing so much?
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re most likely right. Your ears are very close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very nervous you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.
Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that isn’t the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. If your heart is racing, it’s not abnormal to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that isn’t normal.
It’s a good idea to come see us if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus might be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
The pressure inside your ears is balanced, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also take place when you swallow for the same reasons. This is caused by the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. Some individuals describe hearing a clicking sound when their head drains of mucus. In some rare situations, chronic clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.
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. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of a severe infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
How do I stop my ears from crackling?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.