Why Are My Ears Crackling?
Hearing strange sounds in your ear, while unsettling, isn’t too uncommon. Luckily, while this condition can be a nuisance, typically, it is not harmful. However, it can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and can indicate that you have an underlying issue causing this symptom. A common cause is experiencing pressure changes when changing altitudes, so this means you are likely to experience this symptom from time to time. But there are also other common causes of crackling in the ears as well.
The Common Causes of Crackling in the Ears
Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorder (TMJ)
Affecting more than 10 million people in the United States, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ) can create stiffness and limit the movement of the jaw. Typically, jaw pain and headaches are associated with this disorder, but experiencing a crackling sound in the ears can also occur.
A secretion designed to protect the inner ears from foreign particles, earwax typically falls out of the ear on its own. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen, or items are placed in the ears that increase the buildup of earwax. When earwax accumulates and becomes impacted, it can cover the eardrum and cause you to experience crackling sounds in your ear.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD)
Each ear has a Eustachian tube that connects the throat to the middle ear, and the purpose of this tube is to prevent fluid and air pressure buildup within the ear. However, when a tube becomes blocked, or doesn’t open or close properly, Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) can occur. A fairly common condition, allergies, colds, and sinus infection, can block these tubes if left untreated.
While this condition mainly affects those between the ages of 20 and 50, Meniere’s disease can affect anyone. While in many cases, only one ear is affected, it can cause a person to experience progressive deafness, vertigo, ear fullness, and even crackling in the ears. While the symptoms can vary from person to person, symptoms can occur suddenly, with differing frequencies and durations each time.
If this symptom only occurs occasionally, you may not need to seek treatment. However, if you are chronically experiencing crackling in the ears, see your doctor. Treatment options will vary depending on the underlying cause.