Hearing Health Blog

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? Perhaps, if you have hearing aids, they need to be fitted or require adjustment. But it might also be possible that, if you don’t use hearing aids, the sounds might be coming from your ears. But don’t stress. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Different noises you might be hearing inside of your ears can mean different things. Here are some of the most common. You should talk with a hearing specialist if any of these are impeding your quality of life or are painful and chronic, even though most are brief and harmless.

Popping or Crackling

You might hear a crackling or popping if the pressure in your ear changes, perhaps from a change in altitude or from swimming underwater or even from a yawn. The eustachian tube, a very small part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling sound occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, permitting air and fluid to circulate and relieving the pressure in your ears. Occasionally this automatic process is disturbed by inflammation triggered by an ear infection or a cold or allergies that gum the ears up. sometimes surgery is needed in extreme cases when the blockage isn’t improved by antibiotics or decongestants. You probably should see a hearing professional if you have pressure or chronic pain.

Buzzing or Ringing is it Tinnitus?

It may not be your ears at all if you are wearing hearing aids, as previously mentioned. If you’re not wearing hearing aids, earwax could be your problem. Itchiness or possibly ear infections make sense when it comes to earwax, and it’s not unexpected that it could make hearing difficult, but how could it cause these noises? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to work properly, that’s what causes the ringing or buzzing. But not to worry, the excess wax can be professionally removed. (This is not a DIY procedure!) Intense, prolonged ringing or buzzing is known as tinnitus. There are a number of kinds of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus is a symptom of some kind of health issue and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Besides the buildup of wax, tinnitus can also be connected to depression and anxiety. Tinnitus can be alleviated by treating the underlying health concern; 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! Do you know that rumble you can hear sometimes when you have a really big yawn? It’s the sound of little muscles inside your ears contracting in order to offer damage control for sounds you create: They turn down the volume of chewing, yawning, even your own voice! We’re not claiming you chew too loudly, it’s just that those noises are so near to your ears that without these muscles, the volume level would be harmful. (But chewing and talking as well as yawning are not something we can stop doing, it’s lucky we have these little muscles.) It’s extremely rare, but certain people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can create that rumble whenever they want.

Thumping or Pulsing

If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat inside your ears, you’re most likely right. The ears have a few of the bodies largest veins running very close them, and if you have an elevated heart rate, whether it’s from that important job interview or a tough workout, the sound of your pulse will be detected by your ears. Pulsatile tinnitus is the name for this, and when you consult a hearing expert, unlike other forms of tinnitus, they will be capable of hearing it as well. If you’re experiencing pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to consult a professional because that’s not normal. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; if it persists, it may indicate a health issue. But if you just had a hard workout, you should not hear it when your heart rate returns 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.
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