Crackling Sound in Ears: Causes and Treatment
Published April 24, 2023
Infection of the middle ear, problems with ear tubes, and other disorders affecting the jaw and ears can all cause a person to experience cracking or popping sounds in their ear. Depending on the cause and symptoms, treatment for the crackling in ear can vary.
Every once in a while, everyone either hears or feels something out of the ordinary in the ears, and several conditions can cause it. Examples include buzzing, muffled hearing, ringing, and bubble-popping noise in ear. A crackling or bursting in the ear is another unusual sound.
Crackling in Ear: Causes
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why do I hear crackling in my ears?” you’re not alone. There are numerous possible causes of ear crackling; below, we will discuss the most common cause.
Earwax typically exits the ear on its own. However, it’s possible for it to get stuck in the ear canal, causing a blockage. Blockage can happen if you accidentally push the earwax deeper into the ear by using a tool such as a cotton swab. In addition, your ears may occasionally produce excess earwax, which can also lead to a buildup.
In addition to popping in ear or crackling noises in the ear, earwax buildup can cause pain or discomfort, ears that feel plugged or full, itching, and sometimes partial hearing loss.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
Eustachian tube dysfunction occurs when the eustachian tubes do not correctly open or close. Symptoms may include ear pain, vertigo, ear congestion, and muffled hearing or loss of hearing.
The eustachian tube connects the middle ear towards the back of the nose as well as the upper throat.
The Eustachian tubes serve different functions, including the draining of fluid from the middle ear and the maintenance of pressure balance between the middle ear and the external environment, and preventing middle ear infections.
Possible causes include having a cleft palate, nasal polyps, allergies, nasal tumors, air pollution, sinusitis, and enlarged tonsils. Each of the said causes can prevent the Eustachian tubes from working properly.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
TMJ connects the jawbone to the skull. A joint injury, joint damage, or cartilage erosion can cause TMJ disorders.
If you’re thinking, “Why does my ear keep popping?” Most often than not, if you have a TMJ disorder, you may feel or hear a popping or clicking close to your ear, especially when chewing or opening your mouth.
Middle Ear Infection
When the eustachian tubes become blocked and unable to drain fluid, a middle ear infection develops. Consequently, the fluid can accumulate and become infected. Typically, children are more susceptible to this than adults. This results in crackling in the ear.
Other symptoms include headache, muffled hearing, ear pain and pressure, fever, and fluid draining from an ear.
Middle Ear Myoclonus (MEM)
MEM is a type of tinnitus caused by ear muscle spasms. However, it is unknown what causes MEM. When the muscles in the ear spasm, they can make a crackling or buzzing sound. When the tensor tympani, an ear muscle, muscle spasms, you may experience a clicking sound.
The loudness or pitch of these sounds can be distinct depending on the person. These sounds can also be different; they may be rhythmic or irregular, occasional or continuous, and may affect one or both ears.
Treatment for Crackling in Ear
What causes your ears to crackle will determine how you treat them. If you’re experiencing crackling in your ears, seeing a doctor can help you figure out the cause and find a treatment.
If the cause is an ear infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, but if the cause is earwax blockage, earwax removal is the best course of action. To equalize the pressure in your middle ear, as well as to drain fluid, the remedy is the placement of ear tubes in one or both of your eardrums.
If less invasive treatments fail to relieve TMJ symptoms, surgery may be required. Medication prescribed by a doctor, such as muscle relaxants, to alleviate the pain associated with disorders.
For treating eustachian tube dysfunction, the eustachian tubes can be opened with the aid of a tiny inflatable catheter, a procedure known as balloon dilation.
When to See a Specialist
Generally, crackling in ears is not serious unless accompanied by pressure, headache, pain or fever. You should only consult your physician if the noise is bothersome or lasts for a long period of time; these are all considered to be more serious problems, such as ear infections. Untreated ear infections may cause permanent hearing loss.
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This Content Has Been Reviewed For Factual Accuracy
About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She started her career as a content writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.