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 what you need to know.
Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that seem to come from nowhere? If you use hearing aids, it can mean that they need to be adjusted or aren’t correctly fitted. But those noises are most likely coming from inside of 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 externally. You might hear some of these common tinnitus sounds and here are some indications of what they may be telling you about your hearing. Though most are harmless (and short-term), it’s a smart plan to see us if any of these noises are chronic, painful, or are otherwise impeding your quality of life.
There’s a snap, crackle, and pop in my ears but what’s the cause?
We can tell you one thing, it isn’t the Rice Krispies. When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater, or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling noises. These sounds are caused by a small part of your ear known as the eustachian tube. When the pressure in these mucus lined passageways equalizes, the passages open up allowing air and mucus to circulate.
If you have an excess of mucus in these passages, often as a result of allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, they can get gummed-up and the normally automatic process will become disrupted. In extreme cases where chicken noodle soup, decongestants, or antibiotics don’t give relief, a blockage could call for surgical intervention. If you’re suffering from chronic ear pain or pressure and haven’t been able to find any relief, you should schedule an appointment with us to get diagnosed.
What does it mean when I hear vibrations in my ear?
Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telltale sign of tinnitus. Technically speaking, tinnitus is the medical name for when someone hears unusual noises, like vibrations, in their ears that don’t originate from any outside sources. The intensity of the sound can range from extremely quiet to earsplitting and most individuals 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 properly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are getting low. But these noises can also be caused by too much earwax.
It seems logical that too much wax could make it hard to hear and cause itchiness or even inner ear infections, but how can earwax make a sound? If it is pressing against your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what triggers the buzzing or ringing.
And yes, significant, chronic ringing or buzzing is indicative of tinnitus. Even ringing from too much earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Bear in mind that tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease, alternatively, it’s a symptom of something else happening with your health. While it could be as basic as wax accumulation, tinnitus is also related to conditions such as anxiety and depression. Let us help you diagnose and find some relief for your tinnitus symptoms by helping you discover what the underlying health condition might be.
What’s causing my ears to rumble?
This specific symptom is self-created. In some cases, you will hear a low rumbling when you yawn. That rumble is the sound of tiny muscles inside of your ears tensing in order to soften sounds you make. 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 noise level would be harmful without these muscles. In very rare situations, some people can control one of these muscles, the tensor tympani, and generate that rumble on cue. In other cases, people suffer from tympani muscle spasms caused by tonic tensor tympani syndrome, or TTTS. Studies have shown that TTTS occurs frequently in people who have tinnitus and those suffering from hyperacusis, which is a sensitivity to particular sound volumes and frequencies.
What causes a fluttering sound in my ear?
After you exercise, have you ever felt a flutter in your arms and legs. Those flutters are normally caused by 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 condition. Inner ear surgery to eliminate the condition is an option if the medications don’t work, but results vary from procedure to procedure.
I hear a thumping or pulsing in my ears
You’re likely 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 worked out, have high blood pressure, or are very nervous you will probably hear your own heartbeat.
This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike 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 pumping of your pulsatile tinnitus. If your heart is racing, it’s not abnormal to hear your own heartbeat, but if you’re hearing this thumping at other times that isn’t normal.
If you do experience this pumping or pulsing every day, it’s probably a good idea 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 might indicate a health problem, such as high blood pressure, if it persists. It’s important to tell us about your heart health history as pulsatile tinnitus can point to a heart condition. But after a good scare or workout, your hearing should go back to normal when your heart rate goes back to normal.
What’s this clicking sound?
The pressure inside your ears is balanced, as previously stated, by the eustachian tubes. Repeated clicking can frequently be heard when you have muscle spasms in the muscles close to the eustachian tubes (like in the roof of your mouth). For a similar reason, you might hear clicking when you swallow. This is a result of the opening and closing of the eustachian tubes. A clicking can sometimes be heard when mucus drains from the head. A clicking can, in rare instances point to a fracture of one of the small bones of the ears.
Does it mean I have an infection if my ears are popping?
Sometimes, an ear infection produces the feeling that your ears are full and the swelling can make your ears pop. Popping in your ear can be a symptom of an acute infection. You should schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you have any other symptoms, including 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?
Are you hearing a crackling in your ear and suspect you have tinnitus? Set up a consultation with us to find out about treatments available to you.
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