Do you hear a crackling noise? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come out of 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 might just be coming from inside of your ear.
Don’t fret there’s no need to panic. Your ears have much more going on inside than what they appear to be externally. Here are a few of the more common noises you might hear inside of your ears, and what they may indicate is happening. Though the majority 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 causing the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you might hear popping or crackling noises. These sounds are caused by a small part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure inside your ears.
If you have too much mucus in these passages, frequently due to a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. There may be situations where a surgical procedure is required in more extreme cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re suffering from persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a disorder where sounds are heard in the ears but those noises don’t originate in the outside world. The intensity level of the sound can range from extremely quiet to deafening and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.
Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?
There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: your batteries may be running low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But these sounds can also be produced by an excessive amount of earwax.
Accumulated earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more challenging to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it create sounds. If it’s touching your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.
And yes, significant, persistent buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. Even buzzing from too much earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, instead, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you determine what the underlying health condition might be.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is trying 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.
Those sounds occur so near to your ears and so frequently that the level of noise would be harmful without these muscles. In very rare cases, some people 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. Studies have revealed that TTTS happens often in people who have tinnitus and those dealing with hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering sound?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after a workout? Those flutters are usually the result of a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also called MEM tinnitus, is a condition that affects the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are commonly used as a first-round treatment to bring the fluttering under control. 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 thumping or pulsing in my ears
If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump 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 disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your heartbeat.
This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing too. If your heart is racing, it’s not abnormal to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that isn’t normal.
It’s a good 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 problem, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. 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 good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
As noted 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 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 sound when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare instances indicate a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.
Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?
Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of an acute infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
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 learn what treatments are best for your situation.