Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be signs 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 you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t properly fitted. But those sounds are most likely coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to 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 case, the ear. You may hear some of these common tinnitus noises 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 good 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 I’m hearing?
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you could hear crackling or popping noises. These noises are caused by a tiny 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.
It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the excess mucus in your system (keep in mind, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). There may be situations where a surgery is required in more serious 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 constant ear pain and pressure.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. The word tinnitus relates 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 manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
There are also numerous reasons why you may hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are getting low. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of noise, it could also be caused by accumulated earwax.
It makes sense that excessive wax could make it tough to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax make a sound? Your eardrum can be impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.
Ongoing buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. And the noises produced by earwax are actually a kind of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. Your tinnitus could be triggered by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be associated with more severe issues such as 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’s causing my ears to rumble?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one causing the sound. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can 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 accomplish that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
These sounds happen so frequently, 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 very unusual situations, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have revealed that TTTS occurs frequently in people with tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and wavelengths.
What about a fluttering sound?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after exercising? Muscle spasms cause those flutters exactly like the ones in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are generally used as a first-round treatment to control the fluttering. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
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. Your ears are very close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.
Most kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the case with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose because we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. If your heart is pounding, it’s not abnormal to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that’s not normal.
If you do experience this pumping 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 condition rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it persists. It’s important 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 goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. Repeated clicking can often be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles close to the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. Some people report hearing a clicking sound when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare instances indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Is ear popping a symptom of infection?
Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of a severe infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule a consultation right away. 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?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.
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