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

Do you ever hear thumping, buzzing, or crackling noises that seem to come from nowhere? If you wear hearing aids, it can mean that they have to be adjusted or aren’t fitted properly. But if you don’t have hearing aids the sounds are coming from inside your ear. 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 indicate different things. Here are some of the most typical. Though most are harmless (and not long lasting), if any of these sounds are persistent, painful, or otherwise interfering with your quality of life, it’s a smart strategy to get in touch with a hearing professional.

Popping or Crackling

You may hear a popping or crackling if the pressure in your ear changes, possibly from an altitude change or from going underwater or even from a yawn. These noises are caused by a small part of your ear called the eustachian tube. When the mucus-lined passageway opens allowing air and fluid to flow, these crackling sounds are produced. At times this automatic process is interrupted by inflammation triggered by an ear infection or a cold or allergies that gum the ears up. sometimes surgery is needed in serious situations when the blockage isn’t helped by antibiotics or decongestants. You probably should consult a specialist if you have pressure or prolonged pain.

Ringing or Buzzing 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 may be your issue. It seems logical that too much wax could make it hard to hear, and cause itchiness or possibly infections, but how can it make a sound? If wax is pressing on your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to work properly, that’s what causes the ringing or buzzing. But don’t worry, the excess wax can be professionally removed. (Don’t attempt to do this at home!) Excessive, persistent buzzing or ringing is known as tinnitus. There are a number of types 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. While it may be as simple as wax buildup, tinnitus is also connected to afflictions including anxiety and depression. Tinnitus can be alleviated by dealing with the root health concern; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.

Rumbling

This one’s less common, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the noises to occur! Do you know that rumbling you can hear sometimes when you take a really big yawn? It’s the sound of little muscles inside your ears which contract in order to offer damage control on sounds you create: They turn down the volume of chewing, yawning, even your own voice! Activities, like yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that though they are not really loud, they can still harming your ears. (And since never chewing or speaking isn’t a good option, we’ll stick with the muscles, thanks!) It’s very unusual, but certain people can control one of these muscles, 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 biggest veins run very close to your ears, and if you have an elevated heart rate, whether from that big job interview or a tough workout, the sound of your pulse will be picked up by your ears. This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other kinds of tinnitus, it’s one that not just you hear, if you go to see a hearing professional, 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 common. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom not a disease; there are probably health concerns if it continues. Because your heart rate should go back to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when your heart rate returns to normal.