Man touching ear in response to crackling noises in his ear.

Do you ever hear noises that seem to come from nowhere, such as buzzing, thumping, or crackling? Perhaps, if you have hearing aids, they might need a fitting or require adjustment. But if you don’t have hearing aids the sounds are coming from inside your ear. But don’t stress. Even though we commonly think of our ears with respect to what they look like on the outside, there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Here are some of the more common noises you may hear in your ears, and what they may mean is happening. Although the majority are harmless (and not long lasting), if any are lasting, painful, or otherwise interfering with your quality of life, it’s a good strategy to talk to a hearing specialist.

Popping or Crackling

When there’s a pressure change in your ears, whether from altitude, going underwater or just yawning, you might hear crackling or popping noises. These noises are caused by a small part of your ear called the eustachian tube. The crackling sound takes place when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and relieving the pressure in your ears. At times this automatic process is interrupted by inflammation triggered by an ear infection or a cold or allergies which gum the ears up. sometimes surgery is needed in serious situations when the blockage isn’t improved by antibiotics or decongestants. You should probably see a specialist if you have pressure or persistent pain.

Buzzing or Ringing is it Tinnitus?

It might not be your ears at all if you are wearing hearing aids, as mentioned before. If you aren’t wearing hearing aids, earwax might be the problem. Itchiness or possibly ear infections make sense when it comes to earwax, and it’s not surprising that it could make hearing challenging, but how could it produce these sounds? If wax is pressing on your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, that’s what causes the buzzing or ringing. But don’t worry, the extra wax can be removed professionally. (This is not a DIY job!) Excessive, prolonged buzzing or ringing is called tinnitus. There are several types of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder; it’s a symptom that suggests something else is happening with your health. Besides the wax buildup, tinnitus can also be linked to anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health issue can help relieve tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This one’s significantly less common, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound to occur! Have you ever observed how in some cases, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble? It’s the sound of little muscles inside your ears contracting in order to offer damage control for sounds you make: They lessen the volume of chewing, yawning, even your own voice! Activities, like yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that even though they are not very loud, they can still harming your ears. (And since never chewing or speaking isn’t a good solution, we’ll stick with the muscles, thanks!) It’s very unusual, but some people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can produce that rumble at will.

Pulsing or Thumping

If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat in your ears, you’re probably right. The ears have some of the bodies biggest veins running near them, and if you have an elevated heart rate, whether it’s from a hard workout or a big job interview, the sound of your pulse will be detected by your ears. This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that not only you hear, if you go to a hearing expert, they will be able to hear it too. If you’re dealing with pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to consult a professional because that’s not normal. Like other sorts of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; if it persists, it might indicate a health issue. Because your heart rate should return to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when your heart rate returns to normal.

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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