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

Man plugging ear with index finger because he suffers from tinnitus


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

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

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 signs of what they may be telling you about your hearing. The majority of these noises are temporary and harmless but if you have tinnitus sounds that are painful or are chronic you should schedule a consultation with us.

What’s causing the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?

It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for certain. You could hear popping or crackling when you have a pressure change, whether from a change in altitude, going under water, or just yawning. The eustachian tube, which is a small tube in your ear, is the cause of these noises. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure inside your ears.

If you have too much mucus inside of 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 disrupted. There could be situations where a surgical procedure is called for in more severe cases where decongestant sprays, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t do the trick. You should make an appointment with us if you can’t find any relief from the constant ear pain and pressure.

I’m hearing vibrations in my ear – what could that mean?

Vibrations in the ear are in some cases a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears unusual sounds, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any external 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 tinnitus triggering this ringing in my ears?

There are also several reasons why you might hear these sounds if you wear hearing aids: your batteries may be getting low, you need to adjust the volume, or maybe your hearing aids aren’t fitting right in your ear. But these sounds can also be caused by too much earwax.

It seems logical that too much wax could make it difficult to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax produce a sound? Your eardrum can be restricted if wax is pressing against it and that can create these sounds.

Chronic buzzing or ringing is a sign that you are dealing with tinnitus. Even buzzing 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 accumulation but it can also be linked to more severe issues such as anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help alleviate tinnitus, so you should contact us to learn more about ways to decrease your symptoms.

What are the weird 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. In some cases, you will hear a low rumble when you yawn. Your body is trying to dampen sounds you make and the rumbling is your ears tensing little muscles in order to accomplish that. They reduce the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.

Those sounds manifest so near to your ears and so often that the level of noise would be harmful without these muscles. In extremely rare situations, some individuals can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and produce that rumble on cue. In other circumstances, individuals suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS happens frequently in individuals with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.

What about a fluttering sound?

Have you ever felt a flutter in your legs or arms after a workout? Muscle spasms cause those flutters just like the ones in your ears. Middle ear myoclonus, also known as MEM tinnitus, is a condition that affects the above mentioned tensor tympani muscle and the stapedius muscle in your middle ear. Usually, this condition is initially controlled with muscle relaxers and anticonvulsants, since it’s a muscle condition. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an alternative if the medications aren’t working, but success varies from procedure to procedure.

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

You’re likely not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat in your ears. Some of the body’s biggest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate is high – whether from a hard workout, big job interview, or a medical disorder like high blood pressure – your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse.

This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. Pulsatile tinnitus is easy for us to diagnose since we can listen in on your ears and hear the thumping and pulsing as well. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you need to live with on a daily basis.

If you do experience this thumping or pulsing every day, it’s probably a smart move to come in for a consultation. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom of another condition rather than a disease, so it may indicate a health concern, like high blood pressure, if it continues. 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 if you just had a good workout (or a good scare), you should stop hearing the pulsing or pumping as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.

Why does my ear keep clicking?

As mentioned above, the Eustachian tube helps keep equal pressure in your ears. If you get a muscle spasm in the muscles that are close to the Eustachian tube, like for instance in the roof of your mouth, it can trigger a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also happen when you swallow for the same reasons. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can occasionally be heard when mucus empties from the head. In some rare situations, chronic clicking could be an indication 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?

Sometimes, an ear infection causes the feeling that your ears are full and the inflammation can cause your ears to pop. Popping in your ear can be a sign of an acute infection. If you have any other symptoms, like pain in the ear, abrupt hearing loss, or fever, you should schedule a consultation right away. Sometimes, after an infection, as your head clears of mucus, your ears will pop.

How do I stop my ears from crackling?

Do you suspect that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you determine what treatments are best for your situation.

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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.