Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know.
Do you hear phantom noises such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If this is happening with hearing aids, it may mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t have hearing aids, those noises may just be coming from inside your ear.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be on the outside. You may hear some of these prevalent tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart idea to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise diminishing your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
We can tell you one thing, it’s not the Rice Krispies. You could hear popping or crackling when you have a pressure change, whether from going underwater, a change in altitude, or just yawning. The eustachian tube, which is a small tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. 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 in these passages, often due to allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. There might be situations where a surgery is called for in more severe cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. 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?
In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious sign of tinnitus. The word tinnitus refers to a condition where noises are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.
Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?
Again, if you use hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are getting low. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be the result of accumulated earwax.
It makes sense that excessive wax could make it difficult to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax make a sound? Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can create these sounds.
And yes, excessive, persistent buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. And the sounds produced by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. Your tinnitus may be triggered by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be associated with more severe problems such as anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you determine what the underlying health condition might be.
What’s causing my ears to rumble?
This particular symptom is self-created. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to do that. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
These sounds occur so often, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in extremely unusual situations, be purposely controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, people 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 frequencies of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after a workout? Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters exactly like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as MEM tinnitus, is a condition that affects 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 condition. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing inside 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 hard 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. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing as well. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with on a daily basis.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of a heart condition, so it’s important to relate any heart health history to us. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
As stated above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you get muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For a similar reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare situations, chronic clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the little bones in your ear.
Does it mean I’m dealing with 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. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, such as pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule a consultation immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to talk about treatments available to you.