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

Do you ever hear crackling, buzzing, or thumping noises that appear to come from nowhere? If you have hearing aids, it may mean that they have to be adjusted or aren’t properly fitted. But if you don’t use hearing aids the sounds are coming from inside your ear. But don’t panic. Our ears are a lot more complex than most of us may think. Here are some of the more common sounds you might hear in your ears, and what they could indicate is happening. Although most are harmless (and not long lasting), if any are persistent, irritating, or otherwise interfering with your quality of life, it’s a good strategy to consult a hearing professional.

Popping or Crackling

You might hear a popping or crackling if the pressure in your ear changes, perhaps from an altitude change or from swimming underwater or even from yawning. These sounds are caused by a small part of your ear called the eustachian tube. The crackling happens when these mucus-lined passageways open up, permitting air and fluid to circulate and equalizing the pressure in your ears. At times this automatic process is interrupted by inflammation brought about by an ear infection or a cold or allergies that gum up the ears. sometimes surgery is needed in severe cases when the blockage isn’t improved by antibiotics or decongestants. You should probably consult a specialist if you feel pressure or persistent pain.

Could The Buzzing or Ringing be Tinnitus?

It might not be your ears at all if you are wearing hearing aids, as previously mentioned. But if you don’t have hearing aids and you’re hearing this type of sound, it could be due to too much earwax. It makes sense that too much wax could make it hard to hear, and cause itchiness or possibly infections, but how can it make a sound? If wax is touching your eardrum, it can restrict the eardrum’s ability to function, that’s what produces the ringing or buzzing. But not to worry, the excess wax can be professionally removed. (Don’t attempt to do this yourself!) Tinnitus is the term for persistent buzzing or ringing. Even buzzing from too much earwax counts as a form of tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom of some sort of health problem and isn’t itself a disorder or disease. Besides the wax buildup, tinnitus can also be related to depression and anxiety. Tinnitus can be eased by dealing with the underlying health problem; talk to a hearing specialist to learn more.


This sound is one we cause ourself and is much less common. Do you know that rumble you can hear sometimes when you have a really big yawn? There are little muscles in the ear that contract to help minimize the internal volume of certain natural actions like your own voice or yawning or chewing, It’s the contraction of these muscles in response to these natural noises that we hear as rumbling. We’re not suggesting you chew too noisily, it’s just that those noises are so near to your ears that without these muscles, the noise level would be damaging. (And since never speaking or chewing isn’t a good solution, we’ll stick with the muscles, thanks!) These muscles can be controlled by certain people, even though it’s very unusual, they’re called tensor tympani, and they can create that rumble at will.

Thumping or Pulsing

Your most likely not far of the mark if you sometimes think you hear a heartbeat in your ears. The ears have a few of the bodies biggest veins running very close them, and if your heart rate’s high, whether from that important job interview or a difficult workout, your ears will detect the sound of your pulse. This is called pulsatile tinnitus, and when you go to see a hearing expert, unlike other forms of tinnitus, they will be capable of hearing it too. If you’re dealing with pulsatile tinnitus but your pulse is not racing, you need to consult a specialist because that’s not normal. Like other forms of tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease; there are most likely health issues if it continues. Because your heart rate should come back to normal and you should stop hearing it after your workout when your heart rate comes back to normal.