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Enhanced Hearing Center - Springfield, MO

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

Ever hear buzzing, thumping, or crackling noises that appear to come out of nowhere? Perhaps, if you use hearing aids, they might need to be fitted or require adjustment. But it might also be possible that, if you don’t have hearing aids, the sounds may be coming from your ears. You don’t have to panic. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Different noises you may be hearing inside of your ears can indicate different things. Here are several of the most prevalent. Although most are harmless (and not long lasting), if any are lasting, painful, or otherwise interfering with your quality of life, it’s a smart idea to talk to a hearing expert.

Crackling or Popping

When there’s a pressure change in your ears, whether from altitude, going underwater or just yawning, you could hear crackling or popping noises. The eustachian tube, a very small part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, permitting fluid and air to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. At times this automatic process is disturbed by inflammation caused by an ear infection or a cold or allergies which gum up the ears. sometimes surgery is needed in severe cases when the blockage isn’t improved by decongestants or antibiotics. You probably should see a hearing professional if you feel pressure or persistent pain.

Buzzing or Ringing is it Tinnitus?

It might not be your ears at all if you have hearing aids, as mentioned before. If you’re not wearing hearing aids, earwax might be your problem. Itchiness or even ear infections make sense with earwax, and it’s not unusual that it could make hearing challenging, but how does it cause these noises? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can inhibit the eardrum’s ability to work properly, that’s what produces the buzzing or ringing. Fortunately, it’s easily solved: You can get the excess wax professionally removed. (This is not a DIY procedure!) Excessive, prolonged buzzing or ringing is called tinnitus. There are a number of types of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease; it’s a symptom that suggests something else is happening with your health. While it might be as straightforward as wax buildup, tinnitus is also linked to afflictions including depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and treating the underlying health problem can help reduce tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This sound is caused by our own body and is a lot less commonplace. Do you know that rumbling you can sometimes hear when you take a really big yawn? It’s the sound of little muscles in your ears contracting in order to offer damage control on sounds you make: They lessen the volume of chewing, yawning, even your own voice! We’re not claiming you chew too noisily, it’s just that those sounds are so near to your ears that without these muscles, the volume level would be harmful. (But chewing and talking not to mention yawning are not optional, it’s a good thing we have these little muscles.) It’s extremely unusual, but certain people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to create that rumble at will.

Thumping or Pulsing

Your most likely not far of the mark if you at times think you hear a heartbeat in your ears. The ears have a few of the bodies biggest veins running very close them, and if you have an elevated heart rate, whether from a hard workout or an important job interview, your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the term for this, and unlike other types 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 dealing with pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to see a specialist because that’s not normal. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom; there are probably health problems if it continues. But if you just had a hard workout, you should not hear it when your heart rate returns to normal.

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