I Hear Noises in my Ears But I’m Not Sure What They Are

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

Do you ever hear thumping, buzzing, or crackling noises that appear to come out of nowhere? If you wear hearing aids, it could 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 may well be coming from your ears. There’s no need to panic. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Here are some of the more common noises you might hear in your ears, and what they could indicate is going on. Although most are harmless (and not long lasting), if any of these sounds are lasting, painful, or otherwise impeding your quality of life, it’s a smart strategy to consult a hearing expert.

Popping or Crackling

When the pressure in your ears changes, whether it’s from altitude, going underwater or just yawning, you might hear crackling or popping noises. The eustachian tube, a very small part of your ear, is where these sounds are produced. The crackling sound occurs when these mucus-lined passageways open up, enabling fluid and air to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. It’s an automatic process, but in some cases, like when 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 improved by decongestants or antibiotics. If you’re experiencing persistent ear pain or pressure, you should probably consult a specialist.

Could The Buzzing or Ringing be 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 may be the issue. It makes sense that excessive wax might make it tough to hear, and cause itchiness or possibly infections, but how could it make a sound? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, that’s what causes the ringing or buzzing. But don’t worry, the extra wax can be professionally removed. (Don’t attempt to do this at home!) Tinnitus is the name for prolonged buzzing or ringing. Even noise from too much earwax is a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of some sort of health concern and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Besides the buildup of wax, tinnitus can also be associated with anxiety and depression. Diagnosing and treating the root health problem can help reduce tinnitus; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This sound is one we cause ourself and is a lot less commonplace. Have you ever observed how in some cases, if you have a really big yawn, you can hear a low rumbling? It’s the sound of little muscles in your ears contracting in order to offer damage control on sounds you create: They reduce the volume of yawning, chewing, even your own voice! Activities, such as yawning and chewing, are so near to your ears that though they are not really loud, they can still be damaging to your hearing. (And since you can’t stop speaking or chewing, we’ll stay with the muscles, thanks!) These muscles can be controlled by certain people, even though it’s quite unusual, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can create that rumble at will.

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 largest veins run very close to your ears, and if your heart rate’s high, whether from that big job interview or a difficult workout, your ears will detect the sound of your pulse. Pulsatile tinnitus is the term for this, and unlike other forms of tinnitus, it’s one that not only you hear, if you go to a hearing specialist, he or she will be able to hear it as well. If you’re experiencing 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; if it continues, it might point to a health issue. But if you just had a hard workout, you should not hear it when your heart rate goes back to normal.