Do you hear a crackling sound? A condition called tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s what you need to know.
Do you hear phantom sounds such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If you have hearing aids, it can mean that they need adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But those sounds are probably coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we generally think of our ears in terms of what we see externally, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. Here are a few of the more common sounds you may hear inside your ears, and what they may indicate is going on. Though most are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart plan to see us if any of these noises are persistent, 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. You might hear crackling or popping when you have a pressure change, whether from going underwater, a change in altitude, or just yawning. These sounds 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, often due to allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. In extreme cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage might require surgery. You should schedule an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the constant 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 relates to a disorder where noises are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity level of the sound can range from really quiet to earsplitting and most individuals will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is tinnitus causing this ringing in my ears?
Once again, if you use hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds for a number of reasons: your batteries might be running low, you need a volume adjustment, or maybe your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But these noises can also be caused by too much earwax.
It makes sense that too much wax could make it tough to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax produce a sound? Your eardrum can be impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a kind of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as basic as wax buildup, tinnitus is also related to conditions like depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you determine what the underlying health condition may be.
What are the peculiar rumblings in my ear?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. Occasionally, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble in your ears. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside your ears contracting in order to soften sounds you make. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. In extremely rare cases, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble on cue. In other cases, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Individuals suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain frequencies of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering noise?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Those flutters are normally caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially managed using muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but success varies 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. Your ears are really close to some major veins and arteries and if you just did a hard workout, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.
This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you need 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 for a consultation. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus might be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. But if you just had a hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure in your ears is balanced, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for the same reasons. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare instances indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of an acute infection. You should schedule an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.