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

Do you ever hear noises that seem to come from nowhere, such as crackling, buzzing or thumping? It’s possible, if you use hearing aids, they need a fitting or need adjustment. But if you don’t wear hearing aids the noises are coming from inside your ear. There’s no need to panic. Even though we generally think of our ears in terms of what they look like on the outside, there’s much more than what you see. Different noises you may be hearing inside of your ears can mean different things. Here are some of the most common. Although most are harmless (and not long lasting), if any of these sounds are persistent, irritating, or otherwise impeding your quality of life, it’s a smart strategy to get in touch with a hearing professional.

Crackling or Popping

When there’s a pressure change in your ears, whether it’s from altitude, going underwater or simply yawning, you may hear crackling or popping noises. These noises are caused by a tiny part of your ear called the eustachian tube. The crackling sound happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, letting air and fluid to circulate and relieving the pressure in your ears. It’s an automatic process, but in some situations, like if you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, your tubes can actually get gummed up. sometimes surgery is needed in severe cases when the blockage isn’t helped by decongestants or antibiotics. You probably should consult a specialist if you feel pressure or lasting 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 using hearing aids, earwax could be the issue. 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? The buzzing or ringing is produced when the wax is pressing on the eardrum and inhibiting its motion. Fortunately, it’s easily fixed: You can have the extra wax professionally removed. (Don’t try to do this at home!) Intense, persistent buzzing or ringing is known as tinnitus. Even buzzing from excessive earwax counts as a kind of tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t itself a disorder or disease; it’s a symptom that signifies something else is happening with your health. While it might be as simple as the buildup of wax, tinnitus is also connected to conditions such as depression and anxiety. Diagnosing and dealing with the fundamental health problem can help reduce tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.

Rumbling

This one’s not as common, and if you can hear it, you’re the actually the one causing the sound to occur! Do you know that rumble you can hear sometimes when you have a really big yawn? There are tiny muscles in the ear that contract to help decrease the internal volume of certain natural actions such as your own voice or chewing or yawning, It’s the contraction of these muscles in reaction to these natural sounds that we hear as rumbling. Activities, including yawning and chewing, are so close to your ears that although they are not very loud, they can still harming your ears. (But chewing and talking not to mention yawning are not optional, it’s a good thing we have these little muscles.) These muscles can be controlled by some people, though it’s quite unusual, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to create that rumble whenever they want.

Pulsing or Thumping

If you at times feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat in your ears, you’re most likely right. Some of the body’s biggest veins are very close to your ears, and if your heart rate’s up, whether from a hard workout or an important job interview, your ears will pick up the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the name for this, and when you consult a hearing expert, unlike other types of tinnitus, they will be able to hear it as well. While it’s absolutely normal to experience pulsatile tinnitus when your heart’s racing, if it’s something you’re living with on a daily basis, it’s a wise move to see a doctor. Like other sorts of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; if it persists, it could point to a health issue. Because your heart rate should return to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when your heart rate returns to normal.

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