Crackling Noise in Ear?

Crackling noise in ear may occur due to a variety of different reasons. The condition is not normal and can be a cause of distress and bother for the patient. Some affected individuals may experience only the crackling sound, while in some others the noise may be accompanied by pain in the ears. Crackling in ear may sound similar to the noise created by the rubbing of papers.

The condition  may also affect the ability of a person to hear properly. This may cause him/her to shout when speaking. Patients need to seek medical attention is home remedies do not help resolve the issue of crackling in ear.

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Causes of crackling noise in ear

Some of the common causes of crackling sound in ear are listed below:

  • Wax accumulation in the ear: It is the most common cause of crackling noise in ear. All of us suffer from buildup of wax in ear. The problem arises when the wax dries and is present just above the ear drum; in such cases vibration of the ear drum causes the crackling sound in conjunction with dried wax.
  • Temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder): The TMJ is situated in the front section of the ear. Any abnormality of the joint can lead to crackling noise in ear. Any sound from the TMJ may seem as if it emanates from the ears.
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction/ETD: The Eustachian tube is present in each ear. It joins the back of throat to the middle ear. It helps maintain the balance of air pressure inside the ear and out it. When the delicate balance is disturbed, the tube opens up and removes the excess pressure present within the middle ear. This may cause crackling noise in ear. Some people with ETD may also experience additional symptoms like ringing, popping, or buzzing noises; temporary dizziness or poor balance; sporadic sensation of fullness in ear; pain in ear; and mild loss of hearing. Minor cases of ETD may occur after diving underwater or flying in a plane. Moderate to severe instances of ETD may occur due to upper respiratory infections like cold, etc.; cilia damage caused by smoking; Eustachian tube blockage caused by enlarged adenoids which in turn may be the result of chronic ear infections; and swelling to tube lining due to allergies, sinus infections, etc.
  • Ear muscles spasm: Spasm or tremors of the muscles present within the ear may be another cause of crackling or clicking noise in the ears.
  • Eustachian tube malfunction: Sometimes, the Eustachian tube may remain closed instead of being open. This condition is referred to as Eustachian tube malfunction. It can occur due to thickening of the fluid present in middle ear, resulting in obstructions in the tube. Subsequently, there is increase in the air pressure within the ear and when such pressure is released during swallowing or yawning, it produces a crackling noise. The condition typically occurs due to cough, cold, or allergies, etc.

Treatment for crackling noise in ear

Mild cases of crackling noise in ear can be treated with home remedies, as mentioned below:

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  • Stretch the jaw as wide as possible or open the mouth as far as possible. Doing so will help re-create the balance between external air pressure and pressure inside the ear.
  • Yawning acts as a strong activator of varied muscles in the face and is thus a really effective remedy for the ear problem.
  • Swallowing can help activate the muscles present at the back of the throat, which in turn facilitates opening up of the Eustachian tube. Thus chewing gum, eating, drinking, or other activities that involve swallowing can assist in opening up the tube, thereby resolving the issue of crackling noise in ear.
  • Verify if ear wax buildup is the cause. You may use some ear drops to dissolve the wax. Then remove the wax with the aid of ear buds. You may also use ear wash bulbs to clean the ear. Regularly clean the ears and thus prevent the accumulation of ear wax in the ears, thereby avoiding the problem of crackling sound in ear in the future.
  • The most common procedure used for ‘popping’ the ears is the Valsava maneuver. In this, you need to take a deep breath, then close the mouth and pinch the nostrils, and then gently breathe out through the ear. You will hear a popping sound and that will help resolve the crackling problem. Avoid blowing out with excess force as that can damage the ear drum.
  • Cough and cold can be alleviation via gargling with warm salt water or inhaling steam. This process also facilitates easy removal of mucus buildup.
  • A lot of ear issue can be eased with the use of a few drops of Mullein ear oil.

Moderate instances of ear blockages that cause crackling sounds may be alleviated with use of decongestant nasal sprays. The spray contract the membranes that line the throat and nose and thus permit the ears to easily stabilize. In severe cases that include allergies, doctors may recommend prescription nasal sprays, antihistamines, or other medications

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