What Are Those Noises in My Ear?

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

Do you ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping sounds that appear to come out of nowhere? Possibly, if you wear hearing aids, they might need to be fitted or require adjustment. But if you don’t have hearing aids the sounds are originating from inside your ear. There’s no need to panic. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Different noises you may be hearing in your ears could mean different things. Here are several of the most prevalent. You should schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist if any of these are impeding your quality of life or are irritating and persistent, even though most are short-term and harmless.

Crackling or Popping

You might hear a popping or crackling when the pressure in your ear changes, perhaps from an altitude change or from going underwater or even from yawning. These sounds are caused by a tiny part of your ear called the eustachian tube. When the mucus-lined passageway opens enabling fluid and air to pass, these crackling sounds are produced. It’s an automatic process, but on occasion, like when you have inflammation from allergies, a cold, or an ear infection, the passageway can literally get gummed up. sometimes surgery is needed in extreme cases when the blockage isn’t helped by decongestants or antibiotics. You should probably see a hearing professional if you feel pressure or lasting pain.

Ringing or Buzzing is it Tinnitus?

It might 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 excess earwax. It seems logical that excessive wax may make it tough to hear, and cause itchiness or possibly infections, but how can it make a sound? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can inhibit the eardrum’s ability to function, that’s what produces the ringing or buzzing. But not to worry, the extra wax can be removed professionally. (Don’t try to do this yourself!) Excessive, prolonged ringing or buzzing is called tinnitus. There are a few kinds of tinnitus including when it’s caused by earwax. Tinnitus isn’t itself a disease or disorder; it’s a symptom that indicates something else is happening with your health. While it might be as straightforward as wax buildup, tinnitus is also related to afflictions such as depression and anxiety. Tinnitus can be eased by treating the underlying health problem; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This sound is one we cause ourself and is a lot less common. Have you ever observed how sometimes, if you have a really big yawn, you hear a low rumble? It’s the sound of little muscles in your ears which contract in order to provide damage control for sounds you make: They lessen the volume of yawning, chewing, even your own voice! We’re not saying you chew too loudly, it’s just that those noises are so near to your ears that without these muscles, the noise level would be harmful. (And since never chewing or speaking isn’t a good solution, we’ll stay with the muscles, thanks!) It’s very unusual, but some people can control one of these muscles, they’re called tensor tympani, and they’re able to create that rumble whenever they want.

Thumping or Pulsing

If you occasionally feel like you’re hearing your heartbeat in your ears, you’re most likely right. The ears have some of the bodies biggest veins running near them, and if your heart rate’s high, whether from a tough workout or an important job interview, your ears will detect the sound of your pulse. This is known as pulsatile tinnitus, and unlike other types of tinnitus, it’s one that not just you hear, if you go to see a hearing expert, 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 smart decision to see a doctor. Like other sorts of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is not a disease, it’s a symptom; if it continues, it might indicate a health concern. Because your heart rate should go back to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when 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.