Do you hear a crackling noise? Buzzing, crackling, “static”, or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be indications of a condition known as tinnitus. Here’s some info.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come from nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it may 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.
This doesn’t mean you should panic. Even though we mostly think of our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. You might hear some of these prevalent tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. The majority of these sounds are temporary and harmless but if you have tinnitus noises that are painful or are persistent you should get a consultation with us.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s causing it
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from going underwater, altitude, or just yawning, you may hear popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, which is a small tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure inside your ears.
If you have too much mucus in these passages, often as a result of a cold, allergies, or an ear infection, they can become clogged and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. In serious cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t provide relief, a blockage might call for surgery. If you’re suffering from chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should make an appointment with us to get diagnosed.
I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?
Sometimes, vibrations in the ear are an obvious symptom of tinnitus. The term tinnitus relates to a condition where noises 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 there to unbearable.
Is the buzzing and ringing in my ear tinnitus?
Again, if you use hearing aids, you may hear these kinds of sounds for a number of reasons: your batteries might be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or maybe your hearing aids aren’t fitting properly in your ear. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could also be the result of accumulated earwax.
It seems logical that excessive wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax make a sound? If it’s touching your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what produces the buzzing or ringing.
And yes, significant, persistent ringing or buzzing is indicative of tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually a kind of tinnitus. Keep 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 earwax buildup, tinnitus is also linked with conditions like depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the underlying health condition may be.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you will hear a low rumble in your ears. Your body is attempting to soften sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to accomplish that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
Those sounds manifest so close to your ears and so often that the noise level would be harmful without these muscles. One of these muscles, called the tensor tympani can, in very rare cases, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other circumstances, 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 certain wavelengths of sound, commonly experience TTTS.
What about a fluttering noise?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after a workout? Muscle spasms cause those flutters exactly like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also called MEM tinnitus, is a condition that impacts the aforementioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Since this is a muscle disorder, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are generally used as an initial treatment to control the fluttering. If medications don’t help, inner ear surgery can have varying degrees of success.
I hear a pumping or pulsing in my ears
You’re probably not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat inside your ears. Some of the body’s biggest 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 tune in to the sound of your heartbeat.
This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus isn’t hard for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping 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.
If you do experience this thumping or pulsing every day, it’s probably a smart move to come in and see us. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health problem, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But if you just had a hard workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. 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 cause a repeated clicking sound. For the same reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare instances indicate a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Is ear popping a sign of infection?
Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it could be a symptom of acute infection. You need to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, abrupt loss of hearing, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.
Can I stop this crackling in my ears?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Make an appointment for a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.