Crackling in your ear? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be symptoms of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come from nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it may mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds may just be coming from inside your ear.
Don’t worry there’s no need to panic. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. You might hear some of these common tinnitus noises and here are some indications of what they might be telling you about your hearing. Though most are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart idea to see us if any of these noises are chronic, cause pain, or are otherwise impeding 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 isn’t the Rice Krispies. You may hear crackling or popping 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 noises. 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 allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can become gummed-up and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. There could be situations where a surgery is called for in more serious cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re enduring chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears unusual sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any external 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?
Once again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for a number of reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.
Too much earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the possibility of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. If it is pressing against your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
Chronic buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are dealing with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is usually a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as simple as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also linked with conditions such as anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you understand what the root health condition may be.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one causing the sound. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. 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.
These sounds occur so often, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. In extremely rare situations, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other circumstances, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS happens often in individuals who have tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and wavelengths.
What about a fluttering noise?
After you workout, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are normally the result of 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 above mentioned 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 disorder. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears
You’re likely not off base if you think you hear your own pulse or heartbeat in your ears. Your ears are very 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 probably hear your own pulse.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing too. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you have to live with on a daily basis.
It’s a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus might be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can point to a heart condition. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for similar 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 cases indicate a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are clogged and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it could be a symptom of acute infection. You should schedule an appointment with us right away 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?
Do you believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to talk about treatments available to you.