Stephenville, TX

Abilene, Stephenville and Brownwood, TX

What’s the Cause of the Crackling Sound in my Ear?

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Crackling in your ear? Crackling, buzzing, “static”, or whooshing noises in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.

Do you hear phantom noises like thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If you use hearing aids, it may mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are probably coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.

This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we typically 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 prevalent tinnitus noises and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though most 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 causing the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?

It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling sounds. The eustachian tube, which is a tiny tube in your ear, is the cause of these sounds. When the pressure in these mucus lined passageways equalizes, the passages open up allowing air and mucus to circulate.

If you have too much mucus inside of these passages, often as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can get clogged 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 require surgery. If you’re experiencing persistent ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get diagnosed.

What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?

Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a condition 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 occurs across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to unbearable.

Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?

Once again, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds for a number of reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But these sounds can also be caused by too much earwax.

Excess earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it more difficult to hear, as well as the potential of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. If it’s touching your eardrum, it can actually hinder 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. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. Your tinnitus may be triggered by simple earwax build up but it can also be connected to more serious problems like anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should speak with us to find out more about ways to minimize your symptoms.

What are the strange rumblings in my ear?

This next symptom is less common than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, you can hear a low rumble when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside of your ears tensing in order to dampen sounds you make. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds occur so close to your ears and so often that the level of noise would be damaging without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very rare situations, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other cases, people 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, frequently experience TTTS.

What about a fluttering noise?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters just like the ones in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, impacts the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially managed using muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.

I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears

If you sometimes 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 worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will most likely hear your own pulse.

Most forms of tinnitus can’t be heard by others but that’s not the case with pulsitile 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 pulsitile tinnitus. If your heart is pounding, it’s not abnormal to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that isn’t normal.

If you do experience this pumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another ailment rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health problem, like high blood pressure, if it continues. Sometimes, pulsatile tinnitus is the result of 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.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

The pressure in your ears is balanced, as previously mentioned, by the eustachian tubes. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that surround the Eustachian tube, like for example in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking sound. For a similar reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. In some rare cases, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the little bones in your ear.

Does it mean I’m dealing with an infection if my ears are popping?

Ear infections sometimes generate swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of a severe infection. If you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation right away. 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 think you may have tinnitus? Come in and consult with us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.

References

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uf9680
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24289817/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23571302/

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.