What’s That Crackling Sound?

Bowl of Rice Krispies making noise in your ear.

Are you hearing crackling in your ear? Crackling, Buzzing, “static” or whooshing sounds in your ear can all be indications of a condition called tinnitus. Here is what you should know.

Ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that seem to come from nowhere? When it comes to someone who uses hearing aids, it may mean they fitting and adjustments. For everybody else, tinnitus might be the answer.

Although we mostly think of our ears with regards to what we see on the outside, there’s more than meets the eye – or in this case, the ear. Here’s what it could mean when some of these more prevalent noises are playing in your ears.

What’s The Cause of The Snap, Crackle, And Pop in My Ear?

It’s not Rice Krispies that’s for certain. When the pressure in your ears changes – whether from a change in altitude, going underwater, or simply yawning – you might hear crackling or popping sounds. These noises are caused by a tiny part of your ear called the eustachian tube. When these mucus lined passages open up to equalize the air pressure, fluid, and air move causing these noises to manifest.

It’s a natural process, but sometimes, like if you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your eustachian tubes can actually get gummed up from an excess of mucus in your system (don’t forget, your ears, nose, and throat or all connected). Medical help, like surgery, is sometimes necessary in extreme cases where nothing else has helped clear the blockage.

What Does it Mean When I Hear Vibrations in My Ear?

Vibrations in the ear are sometimes a telling indication of tinnitus. Technically, tinnitus is the scientific term for when someone hears unusual noises, like vibrations, in their ears that do not come from any external sources. It’s generally described as a ringing in the ears and can, in some cases, be minimal, and in others, debilitating.

Is There Anything I Can do?

Once again, if you use hearing aids, you should first check those. There may be a number of reasons that you would hear these sounds: the hearing aids aren’t sitting properly inside of your ears, the volume is too high, your hair is rubbing against them, or your batteries are running low. But if you don’t use hearing aids and you’re hearing this type of sound, it could also be the result of accumulated 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 create a noise? If it’s pushing against your eardrum, it can actually hinder the eardrum’s ability to function, which is what causes the buzzing or ringing. Luckily, dealing with earwax is usually pretty straightforward.

If you’re hearing odd sounds, give us a call. If your hearing aids aren’t working properly we can help with that.

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.