Do you hear a crackling sound? Buzzing, crackling, “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 sounds such as thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If you use hearing aids, it may mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t properly fitted. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those sounds may just be coming from inside of your ear.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Your ears have much more going on inside than what they appear to be on the outside. 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 short-term), it’s a smart idea to see us if any of these noises are persistent, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. You may 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 too much mucus inside of these passages, frequently as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the ordinarily automatic process will get interrupted. In extreme situations where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage may call for surgical intervention. You should schedule an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical term for when somebody hears abnormal sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come 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 tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be produced by too much earwax.
It seems logical that too much wax could make it difficult to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax produce a sound? Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.
And yes, significant, chronic buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. And the noises generated by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as simple 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 root health condition may be.
What are the strange rumblings i’m hearing?
This specific symptom is self-created. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside your ears contracting in order to soften sounds you make. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so near to your ears and so frequently that the noise level would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very rare cases, be intentionally controlled to generate this rumbling. In other circumstances, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. People dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.
What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?
After you workout, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Muscle spasms cause those flutters just 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. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are generally used as an initial treatment to control the fluttering. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump in your ears, you’re most likely right. 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 nervous you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.
Most types of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing as well. 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 smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it persists. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But if you just had a hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. Repeated clicking can often be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). Clicking can also take place when you swallow for similar reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some individuals report hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. 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 inflammation can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be an indication of severe infection. You need to make an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
How do I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to discuss treatments available to you.