Do you hear a crackling noise? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s what you need to know.
Do you hear phantom sounds like thumping, ringing, or buzzing in your ears? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those noises are probably coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
Don’t worry there’s no need to panic. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be externally. 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 the majority are harmless (and temporary), 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 my ear?
It’s not Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure inside of your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling sounds. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure inside your ears.
If you have an excess of mucus inside of these passages, frequently as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the ordinarily automatic process will become interrupted. In severe situations where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage could call for surgical intervention. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what does that mean?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. The word tinnitus relates to a disorder where sounds are heard in the ears but those sounds don’t originate in the outside world. Most people will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely there to unbearable.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
There are also numerous reasons why you may hear these sounds if you use hearing aids: your batteries might be running low, you need to adjust the volume, or perhaps your hearing aids aren’t fitting right 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 accumulated earwax.
Excess earwax is well known to cause itchiness and to make it more challenging to hear, as well as the possibility of an ear infection, but how can it produce sounds. If it is pressing against your eardrum, it can actually inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are coping with tinnitus. Even buzzing from too much earwax counts as a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is usually a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. While it could be as simple as wax buildup, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health issue can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should consult with us to learn more about ways to minimize your symptoms.
What are the strange rumblings i’m hearing?
This particular symptom is self-created. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble in your ears. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside your ears contracting in order to soften sounds you make. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
These sounds take place so often, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears could be damaged. In very rare cases, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other cases, a condition called tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause people to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. People dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific frequencies of sound, frequently experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering sound?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are normally the result of a muscle spasm, and it’s the same as the fluttering you hear 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 disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are typically used as an initial treatment to bring the fluttering under control. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an alternative if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears
If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat pulsing in your ears, you’re probably right. Some of the body’s largest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your heartbeat.
Most kinds of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that isn’t the situation 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 thumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it shouldn’t be something you need to live with every day.
It’s a good idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing every day. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus may be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of a heart condition, so it’s important to relate any heart health history to us. But if you just had a hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
The pressure in your ears is balanced, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. 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). For the same reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some people describe hearing a clicking sound when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare cases point to a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Is ear popping a sign of infection?
Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be an indication of an acute infection. If you are dealing with any other symptoms, such as ear pain, sudden hearing loss, or fever, you need to schedule a consultation immediately. Sometimes, your ears will pop after an infection or cold as your head clears of mucus.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and think you may have tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.