Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Do you hear a crackling noise? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be symptoms of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.

Do you hear phantom sounds like thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are probably coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.

This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we mostly think of our ears in terms of what we see externally, 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 might be telling you about your hearing. Most of these sounds are temporary and innocuous but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are persistent you should get a consultation with us.

There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?

It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. You might hear crackling or popping when you have a pressure change, whether from a change in altitude, going under water, or just yawning. These sounds are caused by a tiny part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.

It’s an automatic system, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the overabundance of mucus in your system (keep in mind, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). There may be situations where a surgery is called for in more extreme cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re enduring persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get a diagnosis.

What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?

Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical term for when someone hears abnormal noises, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any external sources. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to debilitating.

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 might be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting properly in your ear. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be the result of excess 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 impeded if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.

And yes, excessive, chronic buzzing or ringing is indicative of tinnitus. And the noises generated by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, instead, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as simple as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you understand what the underlying health condition may be.

What’s causing rumbling in my ears?

This next symptom is less common than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. Sometimes, you can hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish 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 damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very unusual cases, be purposely controlled to produce 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 frequencies of sound, commonly experience TTTS.

What about a fluttering sound?

After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Muscle spasms cause those flutters just like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also called MEM tinnitus, is a condition that affects the aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but success varies from procedure to procedure.

I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears

If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump inside your ears, you’re probably right. Your ears are really 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 pulse.

Most kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that isn’t the case with pulsatile tinnitus. If you come in to see us, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the pumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. If your heart is pounding, it’s not unusual 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 see us if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health concern, such as 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 after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.

What’s this clicking sound?

The pressure in your ears is kept in balance, as previously discussed, by the eustachian tubes. If you have 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 noise. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for the same reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus empties from the head. 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’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?

Sometimes, an ear infection causes the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a sign of severe infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. 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 believe that the crackling sound in your ears is tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.

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References

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uf9680
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24289817/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23571302/

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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