Crackling in ear

Crackling in ear


Crackling in the ear is a very annoying sound which may remind a people of a fresh bowl of tossing of puffed rice cereal. Sometimes it can even be a symptom of normal seasonal allergies or may be a sign of something more serious than Allergies.

There are many conditions which can cause crackling in the ears. In the article below I have tried to explain about it’s causes and how it can affect the health of a person and what needs to be done for it.


What are the causes of Crackling in Ear?

How you treat the crackling in ears ?

When to Talk to the doctor for crackling in ear?

What are the ways to prevent crackling in ears?

What are the Home remedies for crackling in ear?



What are the Causes of Crackling in Ear?

The human ears are very complicated in a way as they are made up of few small muscles, fewn bones, and some nerves which work together to translate the soundwaves into something which the  brain understands.

Because of this, there are several reasons one might be hearing crackling in the ears. Here below are the most common causes due to which one  might notice crackling noises in the ear:


The simplest and typical reason for crackling noises in the ears is earwax. Building up of too much earwax in the ear canal can make “crackling” noises as the person moves the  jaw. This can take place naturally however can be caused by using cotton swabs to clean the ear.

Clogged eustachian tubes

Human’s have tiny eustachian tubes which connect the ears and the sinuses. These tiny tubes help to keep the fluid and pressure in the inner and middle ear at the right level. The eustachian tube may not be able to open or close properly when a person is suffering from allergies, a cold, any sinus infections, or polyps or a tumor in the nose. This leads to ear popping or crackling sounds in the ear.

Middle ear infections

Small children are typically more likely to develop  middle ear infections than the adults. The middle ear infections are  also known as “acute otitis media, this happens when ear tube that is the eustachian tubes are blocked somehow and can’t drain the fluid. That fluid can build up in the ear and become infected and all this leads to crackling sounds in ear

Other, more obvious symptoms include following:

  • Ear pain and heavy pressure
  • Headaches
  • ‌Trouble hearing from one of the  ear
  • ‌Fluid draining from the ear
  • ‌Fever‌

Middle ear myoclonus

MEM or mid ead Myoclonus is caused by a spasm in the tiny muscles in the ear. Either the stapedius or the tensor tympani muscle  shake which causes the eardrum to vibrate and then a person hears a crackling, buzzing, or clicking noise as a result of this in the ear.

Temporomandibular joint problems

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connection between the jaw and the rest of the head of a person. It’s present right  next to the ears. Any problem with the TMJ can cause a person to hear strange noises. One may have a TMJ disorder if he keeps hearing crackling in the ears along with the stiffness or pain in the jaw. It’s possible that there could be nothing wrong with the ears of a person


How you treat the crackling in ears ?

The treatment process depends on what’s causing the problem so the doctor can help the person to identify why his ears are crackling or making some sound and offer an effective treatment method accordingly .

  • Several cases of crackling ears will resolve on their own with some period of time. People probably have clogged eustachian tubes if in case the sound shows up during the cold weather or with allergies. Using an over-the-counter medication or a decongestant can help unclog the ears while the person waits for the body to recover from it.
  • Sometimes the ears could be crackling because of too much earwax so a person can use earwax softening kits or directly have a healthcare professional clean the ear canal  for this crackling sound . People should never try to put anything in the ear canals as it can leaf to serious damage to the eardrum
  • Some ear infections can require more serious treatment procedures  as such infections can lead to permanent hearing loss if they aren’t treated early at the right time. It’s best to talk to the doctor about all the symptoms if a person is having ear pain or a fever. The doctor will examine the ears properly using tools  and may prescribe an antibiotic medication if it looks like a person is having  a bacterial infection.‌
  • If a person is suffering from TMJ issues, the doctor will focus on treating the joint so that it gets resolved. Doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve the joint pain and the stiffness. Sometimes doctor can recommend physical therapy or TMJ surgery if the medication and physical therapy doesn’t work
  • Antibiotics can be used to treat an ear infection with consultation of a doctor obviously.
  • Earwax removal by a specialist using a specific ear tool if earwax is causing a blockage and noise .
  • If in case there is pressure imbalance placement of ear tubes in the eardrums can help equalize pressure in the middle ear and to help with the drainage of fluid and subside the noise too.
  • Balloon dilation is a way which can be done of the eustachian tube, where  a small balloon catheter is used to help open the  blocked eustachian tubes.
  • Prescription medications like tricyclic antidepressants or muscle relaxants can be used  for relief of pain and uneasiness which can be associated with TMJ disorders.


When to Talk to the doctor for crackling in ear?

  • Crackling in the ears usually is not dangerous unless one also has  ear pain or a fever.  The only thing a person needs to ask the doctor for their advice if the noise bothers or lasts a long period of time.
  • Person  should reach out for medical advice if they experience pain, pressure in ear , headaches, or fever in combination with the crackling sound in ears . As all these can  be signs of some more serious problems like the ear infections. Ear infections if left untreated can lead to permanent hearing loss causing a huge damage


What are the ways to prevent crackling in ears?

The following tips discussed below may help prevent conditions which  can cause crackling in the ears:

  • Prevent respiratory infections :  some illnesses like the common cold and flu may often lead to eustachian tube dysfunction which can lead to crackling sound. So to avoid getting sick, wash the hands frequently, avoid contact of personal items with others that is sharing , and try to stay away from those who may be sick.
  • Don’t use qutips or cotton swabs to clean the ear:  this can push earwax deeper into the ear canal which can lead to blockage .
  • Avoid environmental irritants : There are some allergens, or some other irritants or second hand tobacco smoke, pollution which may contribute to eustachian tube dysfunction and lead to crackling sound.
  • Stay away from loud sounds and noises : Being exposed to loud noises can lead to amage to the ears and contribute to medical  conditions like tinnitus. If a person is going to be in a loud environment, he should use hearing protection as can lead to serious damage.


What are the Home remedies for crackling in ear?

If the crackling in the ear isn’t that severe and isn’t accompanied by associated symptoms, one may want to try some home remedies which can provide relief.

If in  case the crackling doesn’t get any better, or gets worse, it’s better  to follow up with the doctor. Following are few home remedies for crackling in ear:

  • Pop the ears : Sometimes this happens that by simply doing few things like swallowing, yawning, or chewing, one can unclog the ears and help equalize the pressure in then middle ear and lead to stopping of crackling sound .
  • Nasal irrigation : Also called as a sinus flush, this saltwater rinse can help get rid of excess mucus present from the nose and sinuses which can be contributing to eustachian tube dysfunction an blockage.
  • Earwax removal : One can soften and remove the earwax by using mineral oil, even hydrogen peroxide, or over-the-counter ear drops for stopping of crackling of ears



Sometimes  a person may experience crackling or popping sound in the ears which is often described as a “Rice Krispy” like noise.

Crackling in  ears can be caused due to several different conditions, like eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage , acute otitis media, or sometimes the build-up of earwax.

If the crackling in the ears isn’t too severe or too irritating , one can try various remedies at home to help get rid of the sound.

But in case , if self care measures don’t help or work, or if person has severe or prolonged symptoms plus additional symptoms like fever it’s best to make an appointment to see the doctor


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