Crackling in ear: causes, symptoms, and effective treatments

A young man expressing ear pain

We've all experienced unusual sensations or sounds in our ears from time to time, such as muffled hearing, buzzing, hissing, or ringing. Another unique sound is a crackling or bubble popping in the ear, often compared to the noise that a bowl of Rice Krispies makes after pouring milk over them or even a popcorn sound. In this article, we'll explore the causes, symptoms, and effective treatments for crackling in the ear.

Why do I hear a crackling sound in my ear?

Crackling sounds in the ear, often associated with blocked or congested ears, can be attributed to various factors, with earwax buildup being a common cause. When excess earwax accumulates in the ear canal, it may lead to crackling noises. Additionally, changes in air pressure, such as during flights or while scuba diving, can affect the Eustachian tube and cause crackling sensations. Infections, sinus congestion, and allergies may also contribute to this phenomenon. Moreover, issues related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or even certain medications can be associated with crackling sounds in the ear. If the crackling persists or is accompanied by pain, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Causes of crackling noise in the ears

Experiencing a crackling noise in the ears can be both annoying and concerning. This symptom can arise from a variety of underlying causes, ranging from benign to more serious conditions. Understanding the potential reasons behind this auditory phenomenon is crucial for determining the appropriate course of action and treatment:

Eustachian tube dysfunction

Your Eustachian tube, a narrow passage connecting the middle ear to the back of your nose and upper throat, plays a crucial role in maintaining pressure, draining fluid, preventing infection, and protecting the ear from loud noises.

Causes: Dysfunction in the Eustachian tube, caused by factors like sinusitis, respiratory infections, allergies, or changes in pressure, can lead to a crackling or popping sound in the ear.

Symptoms: Recognizing the symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction is crucial for timely intervention. Common signs include:

  1. Feeling of Fullness in the Ear: A sense of congestion or fullness.
  2. Ear Pain: Discomfort or pain in the affected ear.
  3. Muffled Hearing: Impaired or muted hearing.
  4. Tinnitus: Ringing or crackling sounds in the ears.
  5. Dizziness or Vertigo: A spinning sensation or loss of balance.
  6. Clicking Sound in Ear: Audible crackling or popping noises.

Treatment options: Effective management of Eustachian tube dysfunction involves addressing the underlying causes. Treatment strategies include:

  1. Observation: In many cases, the condition may resolve on its own without specific treatment.
  2. Decongestants: Medications to relieve congestion and promote Eustachian tube function.
  3. Nasal Sprays: Sprays to reduce inflammation and congestion in the nasal passages.
  4. Antihistamines: Useful for managing symptoms related to allergies.
  5. Steroids: Prescribed to alleviate inflammation in the Eustachian tubes.
  6. Surgical Intervention: In rare cases, surgical procedures may be considered to open up the Eustachian tubes. This is typically a last resort when other treatments prove ineffective.

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and personalized treatment plan based on the specific circumstances of Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Acute otitis media

Acute otitis media, an infection in the middle ear more common in children, can contribute to ear crackling.

Causes: Eustachian tube dysfunction plays a significant role in the development of acute otitis media. When these tubes are constricted or obstructed, fluid accumulates in the middle ear, providing a breeding ground for infection.

Symptoms: These can differ between adults and children.

In adults, they include:

  • Ear crackling, often associated with narrowed or blocked Eustachian tubes.
  • Ear pain.
  • Swelling and inflammation inside the ear.
  • Fluid drainage from the ear in cases of perforation or rupture.
  • Difficulty hearing.

In children, they include:

  • Ear crackling, attributed to narrowed or blocked Eustachian tubes.
  • Fever.
  • Headache.
  • Irritability or increased crying.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Reduced appetite.

Treatments include:

  • Antibiotics: Prescribed to combat bacterial infections causing otitis media.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter or prescription medications to manage ear pain.
  • Warm compresses: Applied to the affected ear to alleviate discomfort.
  • Ear drops: In cases of perforation, drops may be recommended for proper healing.
  • Observation: In some instances, a "wait-and-see" approach may be adopted, especially in mild cases that can resolve without specific intervention.

It's crucial to seek medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment tailored to the individual's age and health condition.

Middle ear myoclonus (MEM)

A rare type of tinnitus, MEM involves spasms of the middle ear muscles responsible for transmitting vibrations.

Causes: The exact cause is unknown but may be linked to congenital conditions or acoustic injuries, resulting in sounds like buzzing or clicking.

Symptoms: MEM manifests through distinctive auditory experiences linked to muscle spasms. The spasm of the stapedius muscle, for instance, can generate a crackling or buzzing sound. Conversely, a clicking sound may accompany spasms of the tensor tympani muscle. The nature of these sounds is not uniform, varying in intensity, pitch, and characteristics among individuals. These auditory phenomena may exhibit rhythmic or irregular patterns, persist continuously, or intermittently affect one or both ears.

Treatments: Addressing MEM involves navigating the complexities of its auditory symptoms. While specific treatments tailored to MEM are limited, approaches may include managing underlying conditions if identified. For cases where symptoms significantly impact quality of life, therapeutic interventions such as muscle relaxants or, in extreme cases, surgical procedures to address muscle spasms may be explored. Due to the rarity and intricacies of MEM, consulting with a healthcare professional becomes crucial to determine the most suitable course of action.

Ear infection

Ear infections, particularly in the middle ear, can cause crackling sounds. It is crucial to address the infection promptly to prevent complications such as permanent hearing loss.

Causes: An ear infection arises when the middle ear undergoes inflammation and infection, commonly triggered by bacteria or viruses. This condition can result in various symptoms, including the occurrence of crackling sounds within the ear.

Types of ear Infections

There are two primary types of ear infections associated with crackling sounds:

  • Acute otitis media: This is a short-term infection often following a cold or flu.
  • Chronic otitis media: This represents a prolonged infection that, if untreated, may lead to permanent hearing loss.

Symptoms: The manifestation of symptoms depends on the type and severity of the infection. Common indications encompass ear pain, fever, headache, a sensation of ear fullness, and potential drainage from the ear.

Treatment options: Addressing ear infections typically involves the following approaches:

  • Antibiotics: Prescribed to combat and clear the infection.
  • Pain Relievers: Administered to alleviate associated discomfort.
  • Warm Compresses or Ear Drops: Recommended to provide relief from pain.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to drain fluid from the middle ear.

Seeking prompt medical attention is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment tailored to the specific infection and its severity.

Earwax build up

Earwax serves to protect the ear canal, but excessive buildup can lead to blockages, causing symptoms like crackling, pain, hearing loss, and ringing. Avoid using cotton swabs, and seek professional earwax removal if needed.

Causes: Earwax buildup can occur due to several reasons, such as:

  • Improper cleaning: Pushing earwax deeper into the ear canal, often with objects like cotton swabs.
  • Hearing aid or earbud usage: Common among individuals using these devices.
  • Excessive earwax production: Some individuals naturally produce more earwax than necessary, contributing to buildup.
  • Having a foreign object, like a cotton bud, lodged in the ear can result in similar symptoms of earwax buildup.

Symptoms: When an excess of earwax accumulates, it can lead to various symptoms, including:

  • Popping or crackling sounds in the ear.
  • Pain or discomfort.
  • Sensation of plugged or full ears.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Odor or discharge.
  • Cough.
  • Itching.
  • Partial hearing loss.
  • Risk of ear infection.

Treatments options: Effectively managing earwax buildup involves targeted treatments, including:

  • Ear drops: These are employed to soften the wax, facilitating easier removal.
  • Gentle irrigation: Flushing the ear with a gentle stream of water to remove softened earwax.
  • Manual removal: In certain cases, a healthcare professional may use specialized tools to manually extract the excess earwax.

It's important to seek professional guidance for safe and appropriate earwax removal, as improper methods can lead to complications or damage to the ear canal.

How to get rid of crackling sound in ear

How to stop ears from crackling? Crackling sounds in the ear can be caused by various factors, such as earwax buildup, fluid in the middle ear, Eustachian tube dysfunction, or an ear infection. Here are some steps you can take to try to stop  the crackling noise in your ears:

  1. Yawning or swallowing: These actions can help open the Eustachian tubes and equalize pressure in the ears
  2. Chewing gum: Chewing gum can also help to open the Eustachian tubes and relieve pressure
  3. Hydration: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, which can help thin mucus and promote Eustachian tube function
  4. Nasal decongestants: If you have a cold or allergies, over-the-counter nasal decongestants can help reduce congestion and improve Eustachian tube function. Use these as directed and consult a doctor if you're unsure
  5. Valsalva maneuver: Gently pinch your nostrils closed, close your mouth, and blow gently. This can help open the Eustachian tubes. Be careful not to blow too hard to avoid damaging your eardrum
  6. Ear drops: Over-the-counter ear drops can help soften earwax if you suspect that earwax buildup is causing the crackling sound. Use them as directed on the package
  7. Warm compress: Applying a warm compress to the affected ear can help relieve discomfort and improve circulation
  8. Olive oil or hydrogen peroxide: For earwax buildup, you can use a few drops of olive oil or hydrogen peroxide in the ear. Tilt your head to let the solution enter the ear canal, wait a few minutes, and then tilt your head to let it drain out. This can help soften and remove the earwax. Use this method carefully and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns
  9. Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water or taking a hot shower can help loosen mucus and relieve Eustachian tube congestion
  10. See a doctor: If the crackling sound persists, is accompanied by pain, hearing loss, dizziness, or discharge, or if you're unable to find relief with the above methods, it's important to see a healthcare professional. They can diagnose the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment

If you have any underlying health conditions or if you're unsure about using any of these methods, consult with a healthcare provider before proceeding.

A woman with a yellow shirt perfoming a hearing test
Schedule a free hearing consultation

Take care of your hearing health now!

Visit the nearest store

Others causes of crackling in ear

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull, found just in front of your ears on both sides of your head. Acting as a hinge with sliding capabilities, a cartilage disc facilitates smooth joint movement.

TMD, or TMJ disorder, arises from joint injury, damage, or cartilage erosion. Clicking or crackling sensations near the ear, especially during mouth movements, are common in TMD. Pain, stiffness, limited jaw movement, and jaw locking are additional symptoms.

Symptoms may include jaw pain, limited jaw movement, and stiffness.

Treatment options encompass physical therapy, medication, and surgery, depending on the severity of the TMJ disorder.

Meniere's disease

Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder associated with various symptoms, such as vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. Additionally, it can result in a crackling noise within the ear.

Treatment approaches for Meniere's disease may involve medication, dietary adjustments, or surgical interventions.

Perforated eardrum

A perforated eardrum is a condition resulting from a tear or hole in the eardrum, often triggered by injury, infection, or abrupt pressure changes, causing a clicking sensation in the ear.

Surgical intervention might be required to mend the eardrum and relieve associated symptoms.

Ears crackling when sick

Ears may crackle when sick, often accompanied by symptoms like a cold and sore throat. One common cause is Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), which can result from illnesses such as the common cold or a respiratory infection. When the Eustachian tubes become blocked due to mucus or inflammation, pressure imbalances can lead to crackling sounds in the ears. Additionally, the buildup of earwax can contribute to this phenomenon, causing crackling noises. It's essential to address the underlying illness and manage symptoms promptly. Keeping the nasal passages clear, staying hydrated, and using over-the-counter remedies can help alleviate Eustachian tube dysfunction and reduce ear discomfort when experiencing crackling sounds during sickness.

Crackling sound in ear after flying

Experiencing a crackling sound in your ear after flying is a common occurrence and is usually related to changes in air pressure during the flight. This phenomenon is often due to Eustachian tube dysfunction, which occurs when the tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose doesn't open properly to equalize pressure.

Here are some common reasons for and ways to address crackling in the ear after flying:

  1. Eustachian tube dysfunction: The rapid changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing can cause the Eustachian tube to become blocked or fail to open properly, leading to a feeling of fullness and crackling sounds
  2. Fluid buildup: Pressure changes can cause fluid to accumulate in the middle ear, resulting in crackling noises
  3. Earwax blockage: Flying can sometimes exacerbate an existing earwax blockage, leading to crackling sounds as the pressure changes.
  4. Barotrauma: Barotrauma occurs when there is damage to the ear due to rapid pressure changes, often leading to pain, discomfort, and crackling sounds

Crackling in ear after microsuction

Experiencing crackling in the ear after microsuction is not uncommon and can occur for several reasons:

  1. Residual fluid or debris: Even after microsuction, some residual fluid or tiny particles of wax or debris might remain in the ear canal, causing a crackling sensation
  2. Eustachian tube dysfunction: The process of microsuction can sometimes disturb the normal function of the eustachian tube, leading to temporary dysfunction. This can cause crackling, popping, or a sensation of fullness as the tube struggles to equalize pressure between the middle ear and the environment
  3. Ear canal irritation: Microsuction can occasionally cause minor irritation or inflammation of the ear canal lining, leading to sensations like crackling as the ear canal heals
  4. Changes in ear pressure: The process of removing earwax can alter the pressure dynamics in the ear, leading to temporary sensations of crackling or popping as the ear adjusts

If the crackling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, significant hearing loss, dizziness, or discharge, it is advisable to follow up with a healthcare professional. They can examine your ear to ensure there is no infection, injury, or other underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Crackling in ear after sinus rinse

Experiencing crackling in the ear after a sinus rinse is relatively common and usually not a cause for concern. Here are a few reasons why this might occur:

  1. Pressure changes: Sinus rinses can affect the pressure in your nasal passages and ears. When you irrigate your sinuses, you're essentially introducing fluid into your nasal passages, which can sometimes lead to temporary changes in ear pressure. This can cause crackling or popping sensations as your ears adjust
  2. Fluid movement: The fluid used in sinus rinses can sometimes travel through the eustachian tube, which connects the back of the nose to the middle ear. This movement of fluid can create sounds like crackling or popping in the ear
  3. Residual solution: It's possible that some residual solution from the sinus rinse remains in the eustachian tube or middle ear, leading to temporary sensations of crackling or popping
  4. Eustachian tube dysfunction: Some individuals may already have eustachian tube dysfunction, which can be exacerbated by the sinus rinse. This dysfunction can cause difficulty equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the environment, leading to crackling sensations

Typically, these sensations should resolve on their own as your ears adjust to the changes in pressure and any residual solution drains or evaporates. However, if the crackling persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as pain, significant hearing loss, or discharge from the ear, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

Crackling in ear after swimming

Experiencing crackling in the ear after swimming is relatively common and usually not a cause for concern. Here are some reasons why this might happen:

  1. Water trapped in the ear: When swimming, water can enter the ear canal and become trapped. This trapped water can cause a sensation of crackling or popping as it moves around in the ear canal or comes into contact with the eardrum
  2. Eustachian tube dysfunction: Swimming can sometimes cause temporary dysfunction of the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. This dysfunction can lead to difficulty equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the environment, resulting in crackling or popping sensations
  3. Inflammation or irritation: The water in swimming pools can contain chemicals or bacteria that may irritate the delicate skin lining the ear canal, leading to inflammation. This inflammation can cause sensations like crackling or popping
  4. Changes in ear pressure: The pressure changes that occur when diving or swimming underwater can affect the pressure inside the ear. This change in pressure can sometimes cause crackling or popping sensations as the ear adjusts

In most cases, the crackling sensation should resolve on its own as any trapped water drains from the ear and the eustachian tube function returns to normal. However, if the crackling persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as pain, significant hearing loss, or discharge from the ear, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation. They can help determine if there's an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Crackling in ear when breathing

Experiencing crackling in the ear when breathing can be concerning, and it may indicate various underlying issues. Here are some possible causes:

  1. Eustachian tube dysfunction: Dysfunction of the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, can lead to sensations of crackling or popping in the ear when breathing. This dysfunction can be caused by factors such as inflammation, congestion, or changes in air pressure
  2. Respiratory infections: Respiratory infections, such as colds, flu, or sinus infections, can cause inflammation and congestion in the respiratory tract, including the eustachian tubes. This can result in crackling sounds in the ear when breathing
  3. Allergies: Allergies can cause inflammation and congestion in the nasal passages and eustachian tubes, leading to crackling sensations in the ear when breathing
  4. Middle ear infections: Infections of the middle ear, known as otitis media, can cause fluid buildup and pressure changes in the ear. This can result in crackling or popping sounds, especially when breathing deeply or yawning
  5. TMJ Disorders: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can sometimes cause referred sensations in the ears, including crackling sounds, particularly when moving the jaw or breathing deeply

If you are experiencing crackling in your ear when breathing, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, hearing loss, dizziness, or fever, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis. They can determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Crackling in ear when lying down

Experiencing crackling in the ear when lying down can be unsettling, but it's often not a cause for immediate concern. Here are some possible reasons for this sensation:

  1. Eustachian tube dysfunction: When lying down, especially if you change positions quickly, it can affect the balance of pressure in your ears. Eustachian tube dysfunction, where the tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the throat doesn't function properly, can exacerbate this sensation. The crackling you hear may be the result of the pressure equalizing between the middle ear and the environment
  2. Fluid build-up: Fluid can accumulate in the middle ear due to various reasons such as allergies, colds, sinus infections, or even changes in altitude. When you lie down, this fluid may shift, leading to crackling or popping sounds
  3. Earwax build-up: Earwax naturally accumulates in the ear canal. When lying down, this wax may shift slightly, causing crackling sounds as it moves against the ear canal walls
  4. Middle ear infection: Infections in the middle ear, such as otitis media, can lead to fluid accumulation and pressure changes, which may cause crackling or popping sounds when lying down.
  5. TMJ Disorders: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can sometimes cause referred sensations in the ears, including crackling sounds, especially when lying down due to changes in jaw position

If the crackling in your ear when lying down is persistent, accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as pain, hearing loss, dizziness, or discharge, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation. They can examine your ear and determine the underlying cause of the crackling sensation.

Crackling in ear when eating

Experiencing crackling in the ear when eating can be unusual and might indicate an underlying issue. Here are some potential reasons for this sensation:

  1. Eustachian tube dysfunction: Dysfunction of the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, can lead to crackling sounds in the ear during activities like eating. Changes in pressure within the throat and mouth during chewing and swallowing may affect the balance of pressure in the middle ear, resulting in crackling noises
  2. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders: TMJ disorders can sometimes cause referred sensations in the ears, including crackling sounds, especially during movements like chewing. Issues with the TMJ, which connects the jaw to the skull, can affect the surrounding structures, including the middle ear
  3. Middle ear infection: Infections in the middle ear can cause fluid buildup and pressure changes, leading to crackling or popping sounds. These sounds might become more noticeable during activities that involve movement of the jaw, such as eating
  4. Muscle or ligament movement: Movement of muscles or ligaments near the ear during chewing may produce sounds that are perceived as crackling in the ear
  5. Changes in blood flow: Changes in blood flow to the ear or surrounding structures during eating could potentially produce crackling sounds

If you're experiencing crackling in your ear when eating, especially if it's persistent or accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, hearing loss, dizziness, or discharge, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation. They can assess your condition and determine the underlying cause of the crackling sensation.

Symptoms of crackling in ear

The symptoms of ear crackling are often characterized by a popping, clicking, or crackling sound in one or both ears. This auditory phenomenon may be intermittent or continuous. Below, we delve into the various aspects of ear-popping symptoms, encompassing the sound itself and associated manifestations.

1. Crackling sound

The crackling sound can manifest as a soft or loud auditory experience, exhibiting varying degrees of intensity. It may occur in one or both ears and present intermittently or persistently. Notably, the crackling noise may become more noticeable during activities like swallowing or moving the jaw, particularly in quiet environments such as bedtime.

2. Pain

Pain associated with ear crackling can range from mild to severe, affecting the ear or its surrounding area. Individuals may experience a sense of pressure or fullness in the ear. Interestingly, crackling in the ear can also manifest without any accompanying pain in certain cases.

3. Dizziness

Dizziness represents a common symptom linked to ear crackling. Its severity can vary, accompanied by sensations of lightheadedness or unsteadiness. Nausea or vomiting may also accompany dizziness in some instances.

4. Hearing loss

Ear crackling may coincide with varying degrees of hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe and exhibiting temporary or permanent characteristics. Individuals may additionally sense fullness or pressure in the ear alongside the hearing impairment. If you experience any of these symptoms, seeking medical attention is crucial to identify the underlying cause and obtain appropriate treatment.

Crackling in ear with no pain

Crackling noises in the ear without associated pain can be attributed to various causes:

  • Accumulation of earwax in the ear canal, leading to crackling sounds as the wax shifts or moves.
  • Eustachian tube dysfunction, acute otitis media, myoclonus, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are potential culprits.
  • In some cases, crackling may result from muscular contractions within the ear. While the symptom itself may not be painful, it can be bothersome and impact hearing quality.

Managing crackling in the ear without pain involves addressing the underlying cause. Home remedies, such as maintaining ear hygiene and using decongestants or antihistamines, may alleviate mild symptoms. If the issue persists or worsens, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable to determine an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Ear crackle diagnosis

When confronted with ear crackling, or related symptoms, an accurate diagnosis is the key to effective management. A medical professional embarks on this diagnostic journey by:

Physical examination

Employing an otoscope, the doctor scrutinizes the internal structures of the ears. In certain scenarios, a diagnosis may be deduced solely from the information gathered during the examination and the individual's medical history.

Specialized tests

For more intricate cases, specialized assessments like hearing tests may be employed to refine the diagnosis. These tests serve as valuable tools in unraveling the complexities of ear-related symptoms, aiding in the accurate identification of the underlying causes.

Imaging tests

Imaging tests such as CT scans utilize X-rays to create detailed images of the ear and surrounding structures, helping identify abnormalities in the bones or tissues of the ear. MRIs, on the other hand, use powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of the ear, aiding in identifying soft tissue abnormalities or damage to the nerves. The synergy of these diagnostic approaches ensures a comprehensive understanding of the underlying causes, guiding precise and tailored treatment strategies.

Home remedies for ear crackling

Managing crackling in the ears at home involves several practical approaches:

  • Nasal flush: Clear excess mucus from the sinuses by using a saltwater nasal flush.
  • OTC decongestants: Over-the-counter decongestants can alleviate eustachian tube issues by reducing mucus and fluid. However, cautious use for a maximum of 3 days is crucial to avoid addiction and rebound congestion.
  • Earwax removal: Soften earwax blockages with home remedies, such as a few drops of baby oil or mineral oil. This facilitates the natural flow of softened wax out of the ear.
  • Allergy treatment: Addressing allergies can mitigate ear and eustachian tube problems.
  • Avoid cotton swabs: Refrain from using cotton swabs, bobby pins, or ear candling, as these can lead to impacted earwax.
  • TMJ exercises: For those dealing with Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) issues, consider physical therapy exercises, including jaw strengthening, stretching exercises, and postural adjustments. Manual therapy can also enhance soft tissue and muscle flexibility, promoting increased motion.
  • Stress management for TMJ: Minimize stress on the jaw associated with TMJ by limiting excessive chewing and avoiding habits like gum chewing.

By adopting these home remedies and steering clear of potentially harmful practices, individuals can contribute to the alleviation of ear crackling and related discomfort.

Preventing ear crackling

Maintaining ear health and preventing ear crackling involves adopting effective practices such as good ear hygiene, protection from loud noises, prompt treatment of allergies and colds, and quitting smoking.

  1. Ear hygiene: This entails keeping the ear clean and dry to prevent wax and debris buildup, which can cause blockages. Using ear drops as directed by a healthcare provider is an effective way to soften wax. Avoiding the use of cotton swabs or other objects prevents pushing wax further into the ear canal.
  2. Protecting your ears: Exposure to loud noises can damage delicate ear structures, leading to issues such as ear crackling. Wearing earplugs or earmuffs in noisy environments, like concerts or construction sites, helps protect the ears.
  3. Treating allergies and colds: Allergies and colds can cause inflammation, contributing to symptoms like ear crackling. Timely treatment with over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation. Consultation with a healthcare provider is advisable before taking any medication.
  4. Quitting smoking: Smoking can harm delicate ear structures, resulting in crackling and other problems. Quitting smoking is a crucial step in preventing crackling noise in the ear. Various methods, including nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, and support groups, can aid in smoking cessation.
Young doctor smiling at an old lady, and the patient smiling back at her
Learn more about ear cleaning

Discover more about how to clean your ears properly at home and why you shouldn't use a Q-tip to remove the earwax. 

How to clean your ears

When to consult a doctor

Doctor with stethoscope

Crackling in the ears may not necessitate immediate intervention, often resolving spontaneously or with specific home remedies. Nonetheless, individuals experiencing the following symptoms are advised to consult a doctor for a comprehensive diagnosis and appropriate treatment guidance:

  • Persistent or severe crackling sounds occurring daily, significantly affecting their overall quality of life.
  • Indications of an ear infection, including fever or pain.
  • Recurring symptoms that persist.
  • Presence of fluid drainage from the ear.
  • Experiencing hearing loss.

FAQs about ears making a crackling sound

Can water in ear cause crackling sound?

Yes, water in the ear can cause a crackling sound. When water becomes trapped in the ear canal, it can affect the normal vibration of the eardrum, leading to a crackling or popping noise. Additionally, the presence of water may temporarily disrupt the balance of air pressure in the ear, contributing to these sounds. It's a common and generally harmless phenomenon, but if the crackling persists or is accompanied by discomfort, it's advisable to seek professional advice.

Can AirPods cause crackling in one ear?

Yes, it is possible for AirPods to produce a crackling sound in one ear. This issue can stem from various factors, including hardware defects, dirt or debris blocking the speaker, or software glitches. Sometimes, resetting the AirPods or ensuring that they are clean can resolve the problem. If the crackling persists, it may be necessary to contact Apple Support for further assistance or consider a replacement if the device is still under warranty.

Can crackling in ear cause dizziness?

Yes, crackling in the ear can cause dizziness. This crackling sound is often associated with issues in the middle ear, such as Eustachian tube dysfunction or fluid buildup, which can affect balance. The inner ear plays a crucial role in maintaining balance, so when it is disrupted by pressure changes, inflammation, or infections, it can lead to dizziness or a sense of imbalance. If you experience persistent dizziness along with crackling in your ear, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Can Covid-19 cause crackling in ear?

Yes, Covid-19 can potentially cause crackling in the ear, although this is not one of the most common symptoms. Covid-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, but it can also have various effects on other parts of the body, including the ears. Some individuals with Covid-19 have reported experiencing ear-related symptoms such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, ear pain, and sensations of fullness or pressure in the ear.

Why do I hear a crackle in my ear when I swallow?

The crackling sound in your ear when you swallow is often caused by the Eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat, helping regulate air pressure. Ears crunch when swallowing because the muscles around the tubes contract, and the act of swallowing can open them, allowing air to flow and equalize pressure. The crackling noise occurs when these tubes open or close abruptly, and it is a normal phenomenon. However, if the crackling is persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough examination to rule out any underlying issues.

With you on your journey to better hearing.

It's time to finally treat your hearing loss. Sign up for a free consultation with a licensed hearing care professional today to determine if you have hearing loss. It’s the start of your journey towards better hearing.

EarPros benefits:

  • it's 100% risk free.
  • best partner with more than 1.000 stores

Please use a valid US zipcode.

Please use a valid zipcode.

Thank you for submitting your request

We will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Related Articles

A young man expressing ear pain

Hearing health

Bubble noise and popping sound in ears

Read more
Old person pointing at his ear

Hearing health

Lumps inside or behind the ears

Read more
A child touching his ear

Hearing health

How to clean infant and baby's ears

Read more

Ear diseases

Top Remedies for Clogged Ears

Read more