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

Do you ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that appear to come from nowhere? Possibly, if you wear hearing aids, they need a fitting or need adjustment. But it might also be possible that, if you don’t use hearing aids, the sounds may well be coming from your ears. But don’t panic. Even though we generally think of our ears in terms of what they look like on the outside, there’s a great deal more than meets the eye. Different sounds you might be hearing inside of your ears can mean different things. Here are several of the most prevalent. You should talk with a hearing specialist if any of these are impeding your quality of life or are irritating and chronic, although the majority are brief and harmless.

Crackling or Popping

When there’s a pressure change in your ears, whether it’s from altitude, going underwater or just yawning, you could hear popping or crackling noises. The eustachian tube, a tiny part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling sound takes place when these mucus-lined passageways open up, permitting air and fluid to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. It’s an automatic process, but on occasion, like when you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your tubes can actually get gummed up. In extreme cases, when antibiotics or decongestants don’t provide relief, a blockage can call for surgical intervention. You probably should see a hearing professional if you feel pressure or prolonged pain.

Could The Buzzing or Ringing be Tinnitus?

Once more, if you have hearing aids, you might hear these types of sounds if they aren’t fitting properly within your ears, the volume is too high, or your batteries are running low. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could be due to too much earwax. 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 does it create these sounds? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, that’s what produces the ringing or buzzing. The good news is, it’s easily solved: You can have the excess wax removed professionally. (Don’t try to do this yourself!) Tinnitus is the name for persistent buzzing or ringing. Even buzzing from excessive earwax is a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder; it’s a symptom that signifies something else is going on with your health. Besides the wax buildup, tinnitus can also be associated with depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help alleviate tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.

Rumbling

This sound is one we cause ourself and is much less commonplace. Have you ever observed how occasionally, if you have a really big yawn, you hear a low rumble? There are tiny muscles in the ear that contract in order to decrease the internal volume of certain natural actions like your own voice or chewing or yawning, It’s the tightening of these muscles in reaction to these natural sounds that we hear as rumbling. Activities, such as yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that even though they are not really loud, they can still harming your ears. (But talking and chewing as well as yawning are not optional, it’s lucky 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 can create that rumble at will.

Pulsing or Thumping

Your most likely not far from the truth if you at times think you hear a heartbeat in your ears. Some of the body’s largest veins are extremely close to your ears, and if your heart rate’s high, whether it’s from a tough workout or a big job interview, the sound of your pulse will be detected by your ears. This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that not just you hear, if you go to see a hearing specialist, they will be able to hear it too. If you’re experiencing pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to consult a specialist because that’s not normal. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is not a disease, it’s a symptom; if it continues, it could point to a health issue. But if you just had a hard workout, you should stop hearing it as soon as your heart rate returns to normal.

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