What’s Causing the Crackling Noise in my Ear?

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Do you hear a crackling sound? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you need to know.

Do you hear phantom noises like thumping, buzzing, or ringing in your ears? If this is happening with hearing aids, it could mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But those sounds are probably coming from inside your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.

Don’t fret there’s no need to panic. Your ears have much more happening inside than what they appear to be on the outside. 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 noises are temporary and harmless but if you have tinnitus noises that cause pain or are chronic you should schedule a consultation with us.

What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in my ear?

We can tell you one thing, it’s not 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 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.

It’s an automatic system, but sometimes, like if you are dealing with inflammation caused by allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the overabundance of mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all linked). In extreme situations where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage may require surgery. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t get any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.

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

In some cases, vibrations in the ear are an obvious sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when somebody hears abnormal noises, such as vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any outside sources. The intensity level of the sound can range from very quiet to deafening and most people will refer to it as ringing in the ears.

Is tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?

There are also numerous reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: 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 produced by an excessive amount of earwax.

It seems logical that too much wax could make it difficult to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how could earwax produce a sound? If it is touching your eardrum, it can actually restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.

Chronic buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. And the noises produced by earwax are actually a form of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. While it could be as simple as earwax accumulation, tinnitus is also linked with conditions such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health problem can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should speak with us to learn more about ways to decrease your symptoms.

What’s causing my ears to rumble?

This particular symptom is self-produced. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. Your body is attempting to soften sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears contracting little muscles in order to accomplish that. They turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

These sounds happen so frequently, and are so near to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. In very rare situations, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble at will. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. People dealing with tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to certain wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after exercising? Those flutters are typically caused by a muscle spasm, and it’s no different from the fluttering you hear in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, impacts the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Since this is a muscle condition, muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants are typically used as an initial treatment to control the fluttering. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications aren’t working, but results vary from procedure to procedure.

Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?

You’re likely not off base if you think you 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 tough workout, big job interview, or a medical disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your heartbeat.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. 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 racing, it’s not unusual to hear your own pulse, but if you’re hearing this pumping at other times that’s not normal.

It’s a smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it could indicate a health problem, such as high blood pressure, if it continues. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsitile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or thumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

The pressure inside your ears is balanced, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you get muscle spasms in the muscles near the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For a similar reason, you may hear clicking when you swallow. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some individuals describe hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. A clicking can, in rare cases indicate a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.

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

Sometimes, an ear infection creates the feeling that your ears are clogged and the swelling can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of an acute infection. You should schedule an appointment with us right away if you have any other symptoms, including ear pain, abrupt hearing loss, or fever. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.

Can I stop this crackling in my ears?

Do you hear a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.

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.