Do you hear a crackling noise? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing noises 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 like thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If you have hearing aids, it can mean that they need adjustment or aren’t properly fitted. But those noises are most likely coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
Don’t fret there’s no need to panic. Even though we generally think of our ears with respect to 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 may be telling you about your hearing. Though most are harmless (and short-term), it’s a good plan to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you might hear popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure inside your ears.
It’s an automatic system, but occasionally, 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 surgical procedure is called for in more extreme 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 nagging ear pain and pressure.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears unusual sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any outside 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 may hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: your batteries may be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting properly in your ear. But these sounds can also be produced by too much earwax.
It makes sense that excessive wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax make a sound? Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can create these sounds.
Ongoing buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even buzzing from excessive earwax counts as a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is commonly a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Your tinnitus might be caused by simple earwax build up but it can also be connected to more severe problems such as depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you understand 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’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside of your ears contracting in order to dampen sounds you make. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so near to your ears and so often that the level of noise would be damaging without these muscles. In extremely rare situations, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble on cue. In other cases, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Individuals suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific wavelengths of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after a workout? Those flutters are normally caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as 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 disorder. If medications aren’t helpful, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?
You’re probably not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat in your ears. Some of the body’s largest veins run really close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical condition like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other types of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. 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. While it’s totally 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 see us if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it might indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it persists. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to talk about your heart with us. 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?
As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep the pressure equal 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 happen when you swallow for the same reasons. This is due to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare instances, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a symptom of infection?
Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can cause your ears to pop. If your ears are popping, it might be an indication of acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, like pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule an appointment immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop in the days following an infection or cold as your head drains of mucus.
How do I stop my ears from crackling?
Do you hear a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.