Crackling Sound in Sinuses: Should You Be Worried?
Published July 13, 2023
Do you often hear your sinuses popping or your nose cracking, especially at night? Hearing abnormal noises or sounds from any part of the body is downright alarming. It’s generally a telltale sign that something isn’t quite right.
So, when you hear crackling or popping sounds in your nose and sinuses, should you be worried? Well, it depends on what’s causing them. In most cases, they’re caused by infections that resolve on their own. But sometimes, they’re signs of a much more severe disorder.
Regardless of their underlying causes, we can all agree that these weird crackling sounds can be annoying. So if you can’t wait to get rid of them, we totally get you. But to stop those annoying popping sounds, you first need to know what’s causing them.
Why Does Your Sinus Make Popping Sounds?
Crackling sounds and popping noises in the nose and sinuses are pretty common, especially when lying down.
You know that feeling when it seems like there are bubbles popping inside your nose every time you breathe? This popping or crackling sound is usually caused by sinus inflammation. But sometimes, it can also be due to a rare condition called palatal myoclonus.
When you hear popping or crackling noise in your sinuses, it’s almost always because of inflamed sinuses. That’s why most cases of sinus popping noises are often accompanied by other symptoms of sinus inflammation, like nasal congestion and sinus headache.
But how does an inflamed sinus create that popping and crackling noise in your nose?
You see, when your sinus passages swell up, it prevents your eustachian tubes from closing or opening properly. The eustachian tubes are passageways that connect your middle ear and nasal cavities. It’s responsible for maintaining the pressure in your middle ear. When your nasal cavities are clogged, it causes changes in pressure in your eustachian tubes. This leads to increased sinus pressure which causes those weird sinus popping sounds that probably feel very familiar to you right now.
What causes sinus inflammation?
Sinus inflammation happens when the tissues lining our sinus cavities get infected and swell up. There are many factors that can cause this inflammation, such as:
- Allergies or allergic rhinitis. When our sinuses deem a threat or an allergen, they swell up to try and get rid of them.
- Common colds. Ever notice that when you have colds, your nose becomes congested? That’s because of the inflammation in your sinuses.
- Sinus infections. Obviously, sinus infections can cause inflammation in your sinuses too.
- Chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis also causes chronic inflammation in your sinuses.
- Deviated septum. This is a condition where the nasal septum (the cartilage dividing the nose in half) is crooked. As a result, one nasal passage is smaller than the other, affecting normal sinus drainage. This, in turn, can lead to sinus infection.
- Nasal polyps. Growths or polyps in your nasal passages can also trigger inflammation in your sinuses and cause weird cracking sounds.
- Autoimmune diseases. Disorders like Sarcoid, Wegener’s Granulomatosis, and Churg-Strauss Syndrome can cause severe sinus infections leading to severe inflammation.
- Sleep apnea. When someone with sleep apnea stops breathing during sleep, it causes inflammation in different parts of the body, including the sinuses.
All of the above conditions require various treatments. For instance, most sinus infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications. But a deviated septum and nasal polyps usually require surgery to prevent recurring sinus infections. This is why it’s important to know the underlying cause of your sinus problems to effectively treat them.
A rarer condition that may also be causing that crackling noise in your nose is palatal myoclonus. It’s a kind of movement disorder that causes rhythmic and involuntary movement in the soft palate, the soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth. This, in turn, can cause clicking sounds in the ear and nose. Palatal myoclonus may be the least likely condition, as it’s quite rare and uncommon.
How to Stop Crackling Noise in Nose
Most cases of crackling or popping sounds in noses and sinuses usually go away on their own, especially if your nasal congestion has resolved. But if it persists and the symptoms worsen, you should schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician. They are the ones best qualified to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment for these types of conditions.
While there are a lot of available self-help guides on the internet, self-diagnosing isn’t really recommended. It can lead you to either over or underestimate your condition. It’s still best to get expert advice before taking any medications.
What to Do If The Popping Sounds Are Due to Sinus Infection
If the crackling sound in your nose is accompanied by symptoms of sinus infection, some home remedies may work. While you shouldn’t self-medicate without your doctor’s advice, you can do a few things to alleviate sinus infection symptoms, including:
- Warm compresses to relieve sinus pain.
- Over-the-counter nasal sprays containing salt water help keep your nasal passages moist while unblocking congestion and treating inflammation.
- Drinking lots of fluids and hydrating sufficiently to moisten your nasal passages and ease blockage.
- Humidifiers add moisture to the air and decongest your sinuses.
- Taking probiotics to boost your immunity against allergens. Make sure to take a probiotic supplement that’s specifically formulated for sinus issues like Bionaze.
But you need to remember that the above remedies only offer temporary relief. It won’t necessarily get rid of your sinus infection. If you want to put an end to your sinus issues once and for all, it’s always best to consult your doctor.
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This Content Has Been Reviewed For Factual Accuracy
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer based in the Philippines. Her commitment to communicating factual content in when writing is unmatched. She works hard to cross check reputable sources to ensure her work uses accurate facts.