Do you hear a crackling sound? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s some info.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere? If this is happening with hearing aids, it might mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we typically think of our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. You might hear some of these common tinnitus noises and here are some signs 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 diminishing your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?
We can tell you one thing, it’s not the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling noises. These sounds are caused by a tiny part of your ear called the eustachian tube. When the pressure in these mucus lined passageways equalizes, the passages open up allowing air and mucus to circulate.
It’s an automatic system, but occasionally, like if you are dealing with inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the excess mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). There might be situations where a surgery is required in more severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t do the trick. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the nagging ear pain and pressure.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?
In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. The term tinnitus refers to a disorder where sounds 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 manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
Again, if you have hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.
Excess earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it create sounds. Your eardrum can be inhibited if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.
And yes, excessive, chronic buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is typically a symptom of something else going on with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Your tinnitus may be caused by simple earwax build up but it can also be connected to more serious problems like depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the root health condition may 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 in your ears. Your body is attempting to soften 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 take place so often, and are so close to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely rare situations, be intentionally controlled to generate this rumbling. In other circumstances, 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 typically 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 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 disorder. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but success varies 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 inside your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s largest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical condition like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse.
Most kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that isn’t the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you have to live with every day.
If you do experience this thumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a good idea to come in for a consultation. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health problem, like high blood pressure, if it continues. It’s important 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 pumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure inside your ears is kept in balance, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some people describe hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare situations, persistent clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the little bones in your ear.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of a severe infection. If you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you suspect that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.