Do you hear a crackling noise? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear buzzing, crackling, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s what you should know.
Do you hear phantom noises like thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If this is happening with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t have hearing aids, those sounds may just be coming from inside your ear.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Your ears have a lot more happening inside than what they appear to be on the outside. You might hear some of these prevalent tinnitus noises and here are some signs of what they might be telling you about your hearing. The majority of these sounds are short-term and harmless but if you have tinnitus sounds that cause pain 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 certain. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling noises. These noises are caused by a small part of your ear called the eustachian tube. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
It’s an automatic system, but sometimes, like if you are dealing with inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the excess mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). There might be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more extreme cases where decongestants, 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 make an appointment with us to get diagnosed.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?
Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telling sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus refers to a condition 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 debilitating.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
There are also numerous reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly within your ears, the volume is too loud, 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 due to excess earwax.
Accumulated earwax is well known to cause 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 pressing against your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even buzzing from excessive earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, instead, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. While it could be as basic as earwax buildup, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health problem can help relieve tinnitus, so you should consult with us to learn more about ways to reduce your symptoms.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Occasionally, 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 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 could be damaged. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in extremely unusual cases, be purposely controlled to produce this rumbling. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Individuals dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering sound?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Muscle spasms cause those flutters exactly 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. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are commonly used as an initial treatment to control the fluttering. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat thump inside 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 kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that isn’t the case with pulsatile tinnitus. If you come in for a consultation, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the pumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s pounding, it shouldn’t be something you have to live with every day.
It’s a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. 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 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?
As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal in your ears. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking noise. For a similar reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some individuals report hearing a clicking sound when their head drains of mucus. In some rare cases, chronic clicking could be a sign 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 creates the feeling that your ears are clogged and the inflammation can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it might be an indication of acute infection. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule an appointment right away. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
How can I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.