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evegrimm's avatar

What is this weird crackling sound in my ear?

Asked by evegrimm (3689 points ) November 2nd, 2009

So I was tugging on my earlobe, and my ear canal, or something nearby, starts making a crackling sound—sort of like tissue paper crinkling. It’s also sort of a “wet” sound.

It’s only in my left ear and it doesn’t affect my hearing.

Is it sinus drainage? Should I be worried?

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15 Answers

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nxknxk's avatar

I’d guess drainage. My ears make similar noises sometimes during sinus infections.

Either that or an ant has found its way to your ear and is currently burrowing through your earwax. Happened to my mother and she covers her ears with the covers at night now always. I don’t know she breathes.

Beware of ants.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My guess is sinus drainage. I just am getting over a double ear & sinus infection. My ears have been making weird crackles, gurgles and popping sounds lately.

Have you been having headaches, nasal dryness, or sinus pressure?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@nxknxk reminds me of a “Nurse Jackie” episode where a patient came innto the ER with a spider in his ear canal Ewwwwww!

Samurai's avatar

Hmm, my comment was modderated for little reason, hmmm I wonder… Maybe thats how I got that award.

Like I said before, Its probally a sinus drainage like you suggested. I get them all the time.

gemiwing's avatar

Something I do, as Captain Sinus (years of study, that), is a facial massage. It helps clear out the sinuses and can keep your mucus moving- instead of it glopping up and causing an infection. Also lay down with that ear on the pillow for a bit.

avvooooooo's avatar

Did you get water in it?

rooeytoo's avatar

Periodically my ears get clogged up. Doc says from taking showers and swimming, I don’t know??? But they start to crackle just before they close up completely. So maybe you have a wax buildup. I use some drops in my ears about once a month now and it seems to keep everything under control

markyy's avatar

I have a single drop of water in my ears every day, it’s exactly like what you described and it’s an awful feeling. For me just tilting my head and looking up for a minute or so fixes it, the drop will just roll out on its own. If that doesn’t help you might want to get your ears cleaned by a doctor (I don’t know what you call it, but it involves oil and a syringe of warm water).

judochop's avatar

Tugging on your earlobe, you
may be hearing your cartilidge break up a bit. It’s fine. My left ear does it and has for years.

hearkat's avatar

Hello; I am an Audiologist.

Since your only reported complaint is the noise, and you only hear it when you touch the area and change the shape of the external ear canal, it is most likely a buildup of ear wax that is not fully occluding the ear canal.

As @rooeytoo mentions, there are drops available that can soften the ear wax. Here in the US, they are available without a prescription… but I seem to recall that you are not in the US.

However, since I have the impression that you have not experienced this before, I would highly recommend having your ears examined by a physician before you put anything in there.

There are other possible causes of your symptom (including insect invaders; and yes, I’ve seen a few in my day), but since you say the hearing is fine and you don’t mention any discomfort or dizziness, the wax seems most likely.

dpworkin's avatar

@hearkat came before I could summon her. I feel so… useless.

evegrimm's avatar

@SpatzieLover, yes, I’ve been having sinus pressure. Basically, it’s getting chillier outside, so sinus pressure builds up. More headaches, more sinus pressure, more chance of sinus infections. Don’t you just love Winter?

@avvooooooo, I know exactly what you’re talking about, and while it’s a similar sensation, it’s not the same. (Besides, I haven’t taken a shower for more than 24 hours, so that would be…odd.)

@hearkat, thank you for the helpful information. (I actually have a history of ear wax issues, so it makes sense that this is another.) As for where I live…did Mexico recently re-annex the Southwest and I wasn’t aware of it?? :P

There, there, @pdworkin.

hearkat's avatar

@evegrimm: Ha! Sorry! (now I wonder who I’m confusing you with)

@pdworkin: That’s the beauty of Fluther! The Flutherbot “summons” us! I just am often at work or asleep when questions get posted, so I am unable to respond as promptly as those in the collective who are nearly always on the computer and get little to no sleep.

@geminiwing: I Lurve the effects of face and sinus massage! An Occupational Therapist I once worked with showed it to me.

janbb's avatar

I often have sinus pressure too, but this might b4e something different. A few months ago, I had that crackling noise and the doctor found a hair that had gotten in to my ear, removed it and ended the problem.

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