Why do I Hear Crackling in my Ear?

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


Crackling in your ear? 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.

Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere? If this is occurring with hearing aids, it might mean you need to come in and get an adjustment. But if you don’t use hearing aids, those noises may just be coming from inside your ear.

This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we generally think of our ears with respect to what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this instance, the ear. Here are a few of the more common sounds you may hear inside of your ears, and what they might suggest is going on. Most of these sounds are temporary and innocuous 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?

It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. When the pressure inside of 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 noises. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open, letting fluid circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.

If you have too much mucus inside of these passages, frequently as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the normally automatic process will get interrupted. In severe situations where decongestant sprays, chicken soup, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage could call for 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?

Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when somebody hears abnormal sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any outside sources. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it occurs across the spectrum, from barely there to debilitating.

Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?

There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: the hearing aids aren’t sitting securely within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are running low. But these noises can also be produced by too much earwax.

Accumulated 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 generate sounds. Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can generate these sounds.

Ongoing buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are coping with tinnitus. Even ringing from excessive earwax counts as a type of tinnitus. Keep in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder, instead, it’s a symptom of something else going on with your health. Your tinnitus could be triggered by simple earwax accumulation but it can also be connected to more severe issues such as depression and anxiety. Let us help you diagnose and get some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the root health condition may be.

What’s causing rumbling in my ears?

This next symptom is less prevalent than others, and if you can hear it, you’re the one making the sound happen. Sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble. That rumble is the sound of little muscles inside of your ears tensing in order to dampen sounds you make. They turn down 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 can be damaged. In extremely rare cases, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble at will. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. People suffering from tinnitus or hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to specific wavelengths of sound, frequently experience TTTS.

What causes a fluttering noise in my ear?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after a workout? 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, impacts the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially managed with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle disorder. Inner ear surgery to correct the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.

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 in your ears. Your ears are very close to some major veins and arteries and if you just did a hard workout, have high blood pressure, or are very anxious you will most likely hear your own heartbeat.

This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that other people can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is not difficult for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the pumping and pulsing too. 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 smart idea to come in for a consultation if you’re hearing this pulsing on a daily basis. If it persists, pulsatile tinnitus might be an indication of high blood pressure or other health conditions. In some cases, pulsatile tinnitus is related back to a heart condition, so it’s important to relate any heart health history to us. But after a good scare or hard workout, your hearing should return to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As noted above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. 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 a similar 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 empties from the head. A clicking can, in rare cases point to a fracture of one of the fragile bones of the ears.

Is ear popping an indication of infection?

Ear infections sometimes cause swelling which can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of an acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, such as pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation immediately. 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 discuss 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.