What’s that Crackling Sound in My Ear?

by Your ER Doc on October 24, 2008

For almost a year now, I have had a strange feeling and noise in my left ear. It sounds like bubbling, and popping. It’s quite noisy. I have had an ear check from my primary physician and an MRI. Everything looked fine. What would you recommend?
Cathy, Incline, NV
 Well Cathy, clearly it’s all in your head.
Literally. I think the next step for you is an examination by an Ear Nose Throat specialist, also known as an ENT or Otolaryngologist.
These physicians have equipment to do a detailed examination of your ears. It sounds like there could be fluid behind your ear drum, or perhaps dysfunction of the Eustachian tube (which drains the middle ear). Fortunately for me, this is not an emergency medical problem, and I am therefore completely off the hook.
You would not believe how much work I get out of this way. I think an ENT is likely to get to the root of this problem and get you some relief as well.
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Crackling Ear Tip | Senior Health Moment
11.03.08 at 11:31 am

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyndy 11.15.08 at 8:18 pm

I get a noise in my ear like a bird chirping. Also when I nod my head up and down I get a funny sound in my head and then back and forth it’s similar but a bit different.. I can compare it to those old pipe heaters being banged on.. wierd I know but I know no one who has this at all. my kids tease me and tell me my brain is loose. lol

Carrie 12.15.09 at 9:22 am

I too have a noise in my ear that sounds like a bird, sometimes it’s a cricket. I went to the ENT and because he could hear it as well he ordered an MRI, MRA with contrast and an ultrasound of my neck. They came back clear and yet the noise is still there. I’m going insane as well because I went to the cardiologist too and he basically told me to deal with it and ignore it. I wanted to punch him because how do you ignore this sound that keeps going on and on twenty-four hours a day. I need some help as soon as possible!

Hailee 07.30.10 at 9:25 am

I have a crackling noise in my right ear that just recently started. I did take a short hike in the mountains right before it started but here is the thing IT HAS NOT STOPPED. It is non stop with only every so often stopping for a minute then starting right back up. I have no other symptoms and unlike the other cases iv heard about my ear crackles even when im completely still even while im sleeping which makes falling asleep difficult. It almost sounds like a bug is moving around in there. I have tried poppin my ears and cleaning my ears and nothing works. Please tell me what you think. Is there something i can do or buy at the store to make it stop? Should i go to the doctor?

Kenny 03.31.11 at 6:59 am

Hi Carrie, I too have noises in my ear that sounds like crickets. I’m glad I’m not the only one that hears “crickets. My doctor told me don’t wary about it, it was only “Swimmers Ears. I’m not a swimmer but I do shower everyday, so I don’t stop wearying about it and now a year later it has started again. So, I’m going to try ear drops he recommended for “Swimmers Ears.” It only will cost me about $3.99, what can I louse and hopefully this will work and my crickets sing will leave.

Russd 04.24.11 at 8:47 pm

I have been suffering from the same problem for almost 10 years now. The problem started when water was accidentally sprayed into my left ear. I was given some antibiotics by the doctor, which relieved me of the pain but left me with a noise. Every time I swallow I hear a clicking/cracking sound in my left ear. It’s not tinnitus (http://www.tinnitus.org.uk/) because my symptoms don’t exactly match that of tinnitus.
I have consulted two ENTs so far. After checking my ears, the first one informed me that both my ears are perfectly all right, and the noise is all psychological. The second one, however, tested my ears more throughly and was kind of to point out that the problem might have arisen because I am underweight.

I still haven’t been able to get used to the noise, and I am really frustrated.I think – my throat, nose and ears – all three of them have something to do with it. Do you have any suggestions? Although I am not sure if the suggestions on here are provided by professionals, I had to ask because I have run out of choice.

Thank you.

Nancy 07.17.11 at 7:25 pm

I have a noise in my right ear, similar to listening to Rice Crispies once you add milk to them. A mild, faint popping/crackling. Driving me nuts.

Z 10.12.11 at 10:49 am

I take an over the counter allergy medicine daily as I suspect sinuses. I’ve been dealing with crackling in my ears for so many years I’ve lost count. It’s constant like when you yawn or when you can feel your ears need to pop or drain. Not saying everyones issue is result of the same Eustachian (draining) problem, but I’ve noticed when I take 10mg (one pill) of loratadine daily it does sometimes help with the pressure. I’d consult my doctor first, of course, before taking any medication. good luck.

Alan 10.29.11 at 6:56 pm

Hold on there kids…i just turned sixty in July. I have been having that sound for over fifty years. The static sound in both ears. Yes when ever i swallow anything, etc, etc. I learned long, long ago to actually make or recreate the sound at will but always with both ears. If you put your index fingers right in front middle of your outer ear. I sense that the sound is nerves right close to the jaw hinge. When i was real young and could not afford a transistor radio with an ear phone (forty years before ipod’s) i would lay in bed at night and make the sound at will to amuse my self. Now heres what you do:Move the top your jawbone (ever so slightly) and/or swallow at the same time. Once you feel that you can make the sound anytime you want by that little exercise, you have mastered THE CONTROL of the sound. At this point since you are in control of the sound…it is easy to igore it, although you may have it for the rest of your life like this old guy. Just knowing i could make the sound myself and choose to listen or ignore it helps. I believe it to be more of an electrical impulse sound rather than static. And yes i had that chirping sound also. What i do not know is if the sounds are a precursor to hearing loss. But now i require hearing aids in both ears.

kathy 11.02.11 at 6:45 pm

Could be tennitus. Are you on any meds? Read the info on the foe side effects.

Kristiana 11.08.11 at 4:23 pm

My ears sound like airs being blown threw them an when that happens i get this cracking sound in my right ear it really bothers me an always gets me scared thinking theres something wrong with my ear i have never got my ear checked out before because i never thought it was that big of a deal but lately its been bothering me more , what is wrong with my ears ?

Cheryll collier 11.09.11 at 12:06 pm

I suddenly got this crackling sound in my left ear. When I have the phone on that side it sounds like static. This just started about 5 days ago. It gets softer sounding at times and suddenly louder. Sounds like snap, crackle and pop all the time. Worries me because 25 years ago I suddenly lost hearing on right side from an unknown inner ear infection. I can hear hear a little on right but probably 15 percent. Do you have any idea what it might be.

CrackingEar 11.14.11 at 8:22 am

I have the same problems with you guys.
I have this soap bubble bursting sound in my ear.
I have other problems recently, late onset asthma, rashes, and possible chlamydia infection due to my GF. Maybe these strange sound in my ear which started 1 week ago has something to do with my above diseases. Any help would be appreciated.

Gail 12.04.11 at 10:11 pm

I have ear crackling, sometimes feels wet & cold, ofther feels full. I have had a bout with a bad rash that goes had & hand with asthma. BUT – I have a ear DR. that is more specialized than an ENT. I have (can’t remember the name) but, fluid in my inner ear , not the middle ear. She gave me pills that mountain climbers take for altitude sickness. It was also getting difficult to hear. The first evening of taking the pill in the morning I could hear the TV MUCH better! She said the crackling could be related to migraines & that migraines have something to do with the nerves by the ears – something like that. Hopes that helps.

Roger 12.25.11 at 11:14 am

I only get the crackling noise in my right ear and only when I sleep on it. I’ve had it ever since I can remember.

Megan 01.11.12 at 6:53 pm

I think since October or in November when I wake up and yawn I hear a small whush noise and then a very tiny crackle noise in my right ear. I went to the doctor and everything looked normal-she even cleaned out the wax. But I still hear a very tiny crackle in my right ear-I mean sounds like rice kirspie pop noise.
I can hear very well in both ears. Its jsut when I wake up and yawn or when I cough/hack up gook.

I’m also taking nasonex so will that help in some way. Also I hope ntohing is wrong with my right ear-I don’t want to have surgery or whatnot.

Fairyann 07.28.13 at 3:44 am

Hi am also suffering from this knocking, bubbling/tapping in left ear. I have been on antibiotics, another load of tabs and nothing is working, driving me mad. I am now going to go back to Doctors, I feel sick at times, very tired. I also went to the Dentist thinking it may have been my wisdom tooth. My inside mouth is also swollen, as the Doctor said its all connected…

Edie 02.13.14 at 9:11 am

I have been dealing with this for so long. Crackling in my ear & ear blocking & sounds like I could hear my heart beating in my ear. I finally told my doctor about it. She told me it was due to a passage being blocked from my sinus to some part of my ear. Anyway she perscribed FLUTICASONE PROP 50 MCG spray ( Generic for Flonase) She said it would be about 3 days before I noticed any difference. She was absolutely right. On the fourth day the condition was so much improved. It has been almost 2 weeks now & it has not happened at all in the past week. What a difference. Believe me it is sooo good to have this cleared up. She said one side effect may be nose bleeds but she told me to use saline nasal spray as well (not at the same time I use the Fluticasone) & I have not had that problem.

elen 02.28.14 at 8:07 pm

It started one week ago I woke up with some strange noise in my right ear I thought it is my brain making this noise it is like whooshing or heavy wind blowing in my ear ,it bothers me I can’t work or sleep normally ,suddenly it goes to the other ear too but the sound is deferent I hear sound like buzzing or fly in my ear that sound comes deeply ,it changed all my life I can’t live peaceful with that noise in my both ears I can’t even eat or work I am focusing in this noise in my head all the time ,I started worried about my hearing ,I wonder if that can effect my hearing suddenly too ,please if some one has experience with that and did something help him to get this away tell us your story maybe can hear silence either

3MonthsNow 03.11.14 at 8:46 pm

I’ve had crackling in my right ear now for three months. At first, I thought nothing of it, as I suspected it would just go away. After three weeks, I had to go to my family doc because it was starting to drive me crazy. It was constant… every time I swallowed and sometimes in between. Sudden changes in altitude made similar but different noises.. kind of the same by in more rapid succession, So instead of it sounding like a few bursts of bubblewrap, it sounded more like somebody squeezing a rolled up sheet of it. Anyway, the family doctor prescribed Flownase (steroid spray), which didn’t help,. Another week later, I went to an ENT. She couldn’t find anything upon examination, but ordered saline rinsing and a prescription antihistamine spray on top of the Flownase. That didn’t work. Second ENT was a specialist’s specialist and focused on ears. Upon the second visit to him, he performed a procedure (erandoctomy?), where he put a 1.25mm hole in the ear drum to equalize pressure, That didn’t work. Third ENT, now specializing in nose and sinuses performed another comprehensive exam, but didn’t find anything. This time I was able to persuade the doc to prescribe an antibiotic. After three days, still no luck. I am taking a probiotic and Mucinex with it. So four different doctors later, still no resolution. Three months and it’s driving me insane. It affect my ability to sleep and concentrate, and I feel my job performance is suffering. I’ve also tried all the typical things mentioned on these types of forums and med advice pages, like breathing steam, the Valsec maneuver (pressurizing the ear canal,) etc.Any further help is appreciated.

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