Do you hear a crackling noise? A condition known as tinnitus can cause you to hear crackling, buzzing, whooshing, or other sounds in your ears. Here’s what you should know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come out of nowhere? If you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are probably coming from inside of your ears if you don’t use hearing aids.
This doesn’t mean you need to panic. Even though we typically 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 may hear some of these prevalent tinnitus sounds and here are some signs of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though most are harmless (and temporary), it’s a good idea to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
What’s the cause of the snap, crackle, and pop in I’m hearing?
It isn’t Rice Krispies, that’s for sure. 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 sounds. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalize the pressure in your ears.
It’s an automatic process, but sometimes, like if you are dealing with inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can literally get gummed up from the excess mucus in your system (remember, your ears, nose, and throat are all connected). There might be situations where a surgical procedure is required in more serious cases where decongestants, chicken noodle soup, or antibiotics don’t help. If you’re enduring chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to get any relief, you should schedule 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 sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical term for when a person hears unusual sounds, such as vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any outside sources. Most individuals will refer to it as a ringing in the ears and it manifests across the spectrum, from barely noticeable to unbearable.
Is the ringing and buzzing in my ear tinnitus?
Once again, if you have hearing aids, you may hear these types of sounds for numerous reasons: the hearing aids aren’t sitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too loud, or your batteries are getting low. But these sounds can also be produced by too much earwax.
Accumulated earwax is well known to create itchiness and to make it harder to hear, as well as the possibility of an ear infection, but how can it generate sounds. Your eardrum can be inhibited if wax is pressing against it and that can produce these sounds.
Persistent buzzing or ringing is an indication that you are dealing with tinnitus. And the sounds generated by earwax are actually a type of tinnitus. Tinnitus itself is typically a symptom of something else happening with your health and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. Your tinnitus may be caused by simple earwax build up but it can also be linked to more serious issues like depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health issue can help relieve tinnitus, so you should speak with us to find out more about ways to decrease your symptoms.
What’s causing rumbling in my ears?
This next symptom is less common than others, and if you’re hearing it, you’re the one making the sound happen. In some cases, you can 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 turn down the volume on yawning, chewing, and even your own voice.
These sounds occur so often, and are so close to your ears, without these muscles your ears can be damaged. One of these muscles, known as the tensor tympani can, in very unusual cases, be intentionally controlled to produce this rumbling. In other circumstances, a condition known as tonic tensor tympani syndrome (TTTS) will cause individuals to suffer from tensor tympani muscle spasms. Studies have shown that TTTS happens often in people with tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.
What about a fluttering noise?
Have you ever felt a flutter in your arms or legs after exercising? Muscle spasms are the cause of those flutters exactly like the ones in your ears. MEM tinnitus, or middle ear myoclonus, affects the stapedius muscle and the tympani tensor muscles of the 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 option if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
Why are my ears drumming, thumping, and pulsing so much?
You’re probably not off base if you think you can hear your own pulse or heartbeat in your ears. Your ears are really close to some major veins and arteries and if you just worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very nervous you will probably hear your own pulse.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and in contrast to other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that others can hear. If you come in for a consultation, we can listen in on your ears and we will be able to hear the thumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, it should not be something you have to live with on a daily basis.
If you do experience this thumping or pulsing daily, it’s probably a good idea to come in for a consultation. If it continues, pulsatile tinnitus might be an indication of high blood pressure or other health concerns. It’s essential to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can indicate a heart condition. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate returns to normal.
Why does my ear keep clicking?
The pressure inside your ears is kept in balance, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. 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 trigger a repeated clicking noise. Clicking can also occur when you swallow for similar reasons. What you’re hearing, is the Eustachian tube opening and closing. Some individuals report hearing a clicking noise when their head drains of mucus. In some rare cases, persistent clicking could be a sign of a fracture in one of the fragile bones in your ear.
Is ear popping a symptom of infection?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can make your ears pop. If your ears are popping, it may be an indication of acute infection. You need to make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, like ear pain, sudden 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 believe that the crackling noise in your ears is tinnitus? Come in and see us and we can help you learn what treatments are best for your situation.