Do you hear a crackling noise? A condition called tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other noises in your ears. Here’s what you need to know.
Do you hear phantom sounds such as thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If you have hearing aids, it may mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But if you don’t have hearing aids, those sounds might just be coming from inside of your ear.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be on the outside. You might hear some of these common tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), it’s a smart idea to see us if any of these noises are persistent, cause pain, or are otherwise diminishing 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 certain. You may hear crackling or popping when you have a pressure change, whether from a change in altitude, going under water, or just yawning. 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 in your ears.
It’s an automatic system, but occasionally, like if you are dealing with inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get clogged from the excess mucus in your system (don’t forget, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). In serious cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage may call for surgical intervention. You should schedule an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the nagging ear pain and pressure.
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 word tinnitus relates to a disorder where noises are heard in the ears but those sounds 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?
Again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: your batteries might be getting low, you need a volume adjustment, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be due to excess earwax.
Excess earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it produce sounds. If it’s touching your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what causes the buzzing or ringing.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. And the sounds produced by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, rather, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as simple as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also associated with conditions like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should contact us to find out more about ways to reduce your symptoms.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This specific symptom is self-produced. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble in your ears. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside of your ears contracting in order to soften sounds you make. Some of these sounds include your own voice, chewing, and yawning.
These sounds happen so often, and are so close to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very rare situations, 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. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs frequently in people who have tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering noise?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your legs and arms. Those flutters are usually the result of a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled using 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?
If you sometimes feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s biggest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a tough workout, big job interview, or a medical disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will tune in to the sound of your pulse.
Most forms of tinnitus can’t be heard by other people but that isn’t the situation with pulsatile tinnitus. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. 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 good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. 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 workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure inside your ears is balanced, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. If you have a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can cause a repeated clicking noise. For the same reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is due to the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. Some people describe hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare instances, chronic clicking could be an indication of a fracture in one of the tiny bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a symptom of infection?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are clogged and the swelling can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be a symptom of acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule an appointment right away. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Do you believe that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.