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

Do you ever hear sounds that appear to come from nowhere, such as buzzing, thumping, or crackling? If you use hearing aids, it might mean that they have to be adjusted or aren’t fitted properly. But it may also be possible that, if you don’t wear hearing aids, the sounds could be coming from inside your ears. You don’t have to panic. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Here are some of the more common sounds you may hear inside your ears, and what they could indicate is happening. You should talk with a hearing specialist if any of these are lessening your quality of life or are irritating and persistent, though the majority are short-term and harmless.

Crackling or Popping

When the pressure in your ears changes, whether from altitude, going underwater or simply yawning, you may hear crackling or popping sounds. The eustachian tube, a very small part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling takes place when these mucus-lined passageways open up, permitting fluid and air to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. Occasionally this automatic process is interrupted by inflammation brought about by an ear infection or a cold or allergies which gum up the ears. sometimes surgery is needed in extreme cases when the blockage isn’t improved by decongestants or antibiotics. You probably should consult a specialist if you have pressure or chronic pain.

Ringing or Buzzing is it Tinnitus?

Once more, if you use hearing aids, you could hear these kinds of sounds if they aren’t sitting properly in your ears, the volume is too loud, or you have low batteries. If you’re not using hearing aids, earwax could be your problem. Itchiness or even ear infections make sense with earwax, and it’s not unexpected that it could make hearing difficult, but how does it cause these sounds? The buzzing or ringing is produced when the wax is pushing against the eardrum and inhibiting its motion. The good news is, it’s easily fixed: You can have the extra wax removed professionally. (This is not a DIY procedure!) Intense, prolonged ringing or buzzing is known as tinnitus. Even noise from too much earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of some sort of health problem and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as straightforward as wax buildup, tinnitus is also connected to conditions like anxiety and depression. Tinnitus can be eased by treating the underlying health issue; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This sound is caused by our own body and is much less common. Do you know that rumbling you can hear sometimes when you take a really big yawn? It’s the sound of tiny muscles inside your ears which contract in order to offer damage control on sounds you create: They lessen the volume of yawning, chewing, even your own voice! We’re not suggesting 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 damaging. (And since never chewing or speaking isn’t a good solution, we’ll stay with the muscles, thanks!) It’s extremely unusual, but some people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to produce that rumble whenever they want.

Thumping or Pulsing

Your probably not far from the truth if you at times think you hear a heartbeat in your ears. 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 a tough workout or a big job interview, the sound of your pulse will be detected by your ears. Pulsatile tinnitus is the name for this, and when you go to see a hearing professional, unlike other forms of tinnitus, they will be able to hear it also. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, if it’s something you’re living with on a regular basis, it’s a smart move to see your physician. Like other kinds of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; there are likely health concerns if it continues. 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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