What Are Those Sounds in My Ear?

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? If you use hearing aids, it might mean that they have to be adjusted or aren’t fitted properly. But if you don’t have hearing aids the sounds are originating from inside your ear. There’s no need to panic. Even though we mostly think of our ears in terms of what we see on the outside, there’s a lot more than what you see. Different sounds you may be hearing inside of your ears could mean different things. Here are several of the most typical. 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 temporary and harmless.

Popping or Crackling

You could hear a popping or crackling if the pressure in your ear changes, possibly from a change in altitude or from going underwater or even from a yawn. These noises are caused by a tiny part of your ear called the eustachian tube. The crackling sound takes place when these mucus-lined passageways open up, allowing air and fluid to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. Sometimes 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 situations when the blockage isn’t improved by antibiotics or decongestants. You probably should consult a specialist if you feel 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 mentioned before. But if you’re not wearing hearing aids and you’re hearing this kind of sound, it could be because of too much earwax. Itchiness or possibly ear infections make sense with earwax, and it’s not unexpected that it could make hearing challenging, but how could it cause these noises? The ringing or buzzing is produced when the wax is pushing against the eardrum and suppressing its motion. Fortunately, it’s easily solved: You can have the extra wax removed professionally. (This is not a DIY task!) Tinnitus is the term for persistent buzzing or ringing. There are several types of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus is a symptom of some kind of health problem and isn’t itself a disease or disorder. While it could be as straightforward as the buildup of wax, tinnitus is also associated with afflictions including depression and anxiety. Tinnitus can be eased by treating the root health concern; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This one’s not as prevalent, and if you can hear it, you’re the one causing the sound to happen! 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 contracting in order to offer damage control on sounds you create: They turn down the volume of chewing, yawning, even your own voice! Activities, such as yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that even though they are not very loud, they can still harming your ears. (And since never chewing or speaking isn’t a good option, we’ll stay with the muscles, thanks!) It’s very rare, but certain people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can create that rumble at will.

Thumping or Pulsing

If you at times feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat inside your ears, you’re probably right. The ears have some of the bodies largest veins running near them, and if you have an elevated heart rate, whether from a tough workout or a big job interview, your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse. This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other kinds of tinnitus, it’s one that not only you hear, if you go to see a hearing specialist, they will be able to hear it as well. While it’s totally normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, if it’s something you’re dealing with on a regular basis, it’s a smart move to see a doctor. Like other sorts of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; if it continues, it could indicate a health concern. But if you just had a hard workout, you should not hear it when your heart rate comes back to normal.

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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.