Puretone Hearing Aid Center - Longview, Marshall, and San Antonio, TX

Man touching ear in response to crackling noises in his ear.

Ever hear noises that appear to come out of nowhere, like crackling, buzzing or thumping? Possibly, if you have hearing aids, they might need to be fitted or require adjustment. But it may also be possible that, if you don’t wear hearing aids, the sounds may well be coming from inside your ears. You don’t have to panic. Even though we primarily think of our ears in terms of what they look like on the outside, there’s a great deal more than meets the eye. Different sounds you might be hearing in your ears can mean different things. Here are some of the most typical. Though the majority are harmless (and temporary), if any are prolonged, irritating, or otherwise interfering with your quality of life, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a hearing specialist.

Popping or Crackling

When the pressure in your ears changes, whether it’s from altitude, going underwater or simply yawning, you might hear crackling or popping sounds. These sounds are caused by a small part of your ear called the eustachian tube. The crackling occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, enabling fluid and air to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. It’s an automatic process, but on occasion, like when you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, the passageway can actually get gummed up. In extreme cases, when decongestant sprays or antibiotics don’t help, a blockage might require surgical intervention. You should probably consult a specialist if you feel pressure or lasting pain.

Buzzing or Ringing is it Tinnitus?

It may not be your ears at all if you have hearing aids, as previously mentioned. But if you’re not wearing hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could be because of excess earwax. Itchiness or possibly ear infections make sense with earwax, and it’s not surprising that it could make hearing challenging, but how could it produce these sounds? If wax is pressing on your eardrum, it can inhibit the eardrum’s ability to work properly, that’s what causes the buzzing or ringing. But don’t worry, the excess wax can be professionally removed. (Don’t attempt to do this at home!) Tinnitus is the term for persistent ringing or buzzing. There are several forms of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease; it’s a symptom that signifies something else is taking place with your health. While it may be as simple as wax buildup, tinnitus is also associated with conditions including depression and anxiety. Tinnitus can be relieved by treating the underlying health issue; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This one’s less common, and if you can hear it, you’re the actually the one causing the sound to occur! Have you ever observed how in some cases, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumble? It’s the sound of little muscles in your ears which contract in order to offer damage control for sounds you create: They turn down the volume of chewing, yawning, even your own voice! Activities, like yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that although they are not very loud, they can still harming your ears. (But talking and chewing as well as yawning are not optional, it’s lucky we have these little muscles.) These muscles can be controlled by certain people, though it’s quite rare, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to create that rumble whenever they want.

Thumping or Pulsing

If you at times feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat inside your ears, you’re most likely right. The ears have some of the bodies biggest veins running near them, and if your heart rate’s high, whether from that big job interview or a hard workout, your ears will detect the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the term for this, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that not just you hear, if you go to a hearing professional, they will be able to hear it too. While it’s completely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, if it’s something you’re dealing with on a regular basis, it’s a smart move to see a doctor. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom; if it continues, it could indicate a health concern. But if you just had a good workout, you should not hear it when your heart rate goes back to normal.

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.