Man touching ear in response to crackling noises in his ear.

Ever hear sounds that appear to come out of nowhere, such as crackling, buzzing or thumping? It’s possible, if you use hearing aids, they might need a fitting or require adjustment. But if you don’t use hearing aids the noises are originating from inside your ear. But don’t stress. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Different sounds you may be hearing in your ears could indicate different things. Here are some of the most prevalent. You should schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist if any of these are lowering your quality of life or are irritating and persistent, although most are temporary and harmless.

Crackling or Popping

You could hear a popping or crackling if the pressure in your ear changes, perhaps from an altitude change or from going underwater or even from yawning. The eustachian tube, a tiny part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling sound happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, enabling fluid and air to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. At times this automatic process is interrupted by inflammation caused by an ear infection or a cold or allergies which gum up the ears. sometimes surgery is needed in severe situations when the blockage isn’t helped by decongestants or antibiotics. You probably should consult a hearing professional if you feel pressure or lasting pain.

Could The Buzzing or Ringing be Tinnitus?

Once again, if you use hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds if they aren’t fitting correctly within your ears, the volume is too high, or you have low batteries. If you’re not using hearing aids, earwax might be your problem. Itchiness or even ear infections make sense when it comes to earwax, and it’s not surprising that it could make hearing difficult, but how could it cause these noises? If wax is pressing on your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to work properly, that’s what produces the buzzing or ringing. But not to worry, the excess wax can be professionally removed. (This is not a DIY job!) Tinnitus is the name for lasting ringing or buzzing. Even buzzing from excessive earwax is a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of some kind of health problem and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. While it might be as straightforward as the buildup of wax, tinnitus is also linked to conditions including anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and dealing with the underlying health issue can help alleviate tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This one’s significantly less common, and if you can hear it, you’re the one making the sound to occur! Have you ever observed how in some cases, if you have a really big yawn, you hear a low rumble? There are tiny muscles in the ear that contract in order to reduce the internal volume of certain natural actions such as your own voice or yawning or chewing, It’s the contraction of these muscles in reaction to these natural noises that we hear as rumbling. Activities, including yawning and chewing, are so close to your ears that although they are not really loud, they can still harming your ears. (But chewing and talking as well as yawning are not optional, it’s a good thing we have these little muscles.) These muscles can be controlled by some people, although it’s quite unusual, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to create that rumble whenever they want.

Pulsing or Thumping

Your most likely not far from the truth if you sometimes think you hear a heartbeat in your ears. The ears have some of the bodies biggest veins running very close them, and if your heart rate’s high, whether it’s from that important job interview or a tough workout, your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the name for this, and when you consult a hearing specialist, unlike other kinds of tinnitus, they will be able to hear it too. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, if it’s something you’re living with on a daily basis, it’s a wise decision to see a doctor. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; there are probably health concerns if it persists. But if you just had a hard workout, you should stop hearing it as soon as your heart rate goes back 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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