Why Do Our Ears Crackle When Swallowing?

Discussion in 'Health Talk' started by MrCrybaby, Dec 30, 2019.

    1. MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      I know this crackling is the result of inflammation of the middle ear/eustachian tube, but what I’m curious about is why it seems to stick around with some people indefinitely. The inflammation seems to be a response to ear infections or noise trauma but can linger long after. If we could fix our hearing, do you think it would change anything? You’d think science would know more about what’s going on in there...

      Curious if I’ll ever get to return to “gulp” instead of “ crackle” haha.
       
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    2. New Guy
      Doh

      New Guy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      It should go away but you have to give it time. The first few months were the worst for the fullness, crackling and general anxiety.

      I'd guess the cracking started to subside after 2-3 months, the fullness lasted longer and my ears feel 'full' at times to this day. It's not the same fullness as the first months but it's there and I only really notice it when I look for it.
       
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    3. MRItechssuck
      Disappointed

      MRItechssuck Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild 2000-2018 sev 10/17/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise, MRI
      Um this ain’t normal? It happens to me an I never considered it odd. Your Eustachian tubes end in your mouth/throat... so when you swallow I figured it was a slight pressure change.
       
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    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      That’s really reassuring to hear! I guess our ears are forever changed, but only time will tell us how much.
       
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    5. New Guy
      Doh

      New Guy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      @MrCrybaby

      Yes, our ears are changed but it gets better...slowly. I thought my life was over almost two years ago and in hindsight, I wish I hadn't spiraled into that hole. Give it time and know it is going to get better whether it gets quieter or not. I hope you don't hear a ringing in the future.
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      There is a pressure change, but it is silent unless there is inflammation or damage to the ear. It happens all the time to people as a response to allergies/ear infections/noise trauma etc and can be permanent. It’s annoying but is not interfering with function.
       
    7. Mymlan

      Mymlan Member

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Did you also have this when you had no tinnitus?
       
    8. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      I don't think the crackling is due to inflammation. I think it's simply the change in pressure in the middle ear that results in a slight change in the drum's shape, thus creating this "thump" sound.

      Remember, the ear is sensitive enough to detect when the ear drum moves by the width of an atom. Pretty unbelievable, but it is what it is!

      I've always had this crackling when swallowing, even when my ears were healthy.
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      That’s true. I guess some of us just become more aware of the sounds in our ears after tinnitus starts.
       
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    10. MRItechssuck
      Disappointed

      MRItechssuck Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild 2000-2018 sev 10/17/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise, MRI
      Yes... before tinnitus had it, with tinnitus had it, then without tinnitus had it... now still have it with the new tinnitus.

      I have floaters as well but it is not related to tinnitus at all.
       
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      @New Guy

      When the cracking in your ears was starting to improve, how could you tell? I’m telling I’m improving with time (sometimes I swallow silently, as I used to) but it’s really draining me and I’m looking for a cause for optimism.

      I’m at 2 months of crackling, so I’m getting more weary that this could just be my forever situation...
       
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    12. vttbx

      vttbx Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2001
      You should try the NeilMed Saline solution. It may help.
       
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    13. carolinet617
      Tired

      carolinet617 Member

      Location:
      Apex, NC, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bupropion (Wellbutrin), TMJ, possible ETD
      I don't know what caused this but I remember one day when I was about 10 years old, I swallowed and heard my ears crackle. I'm now 32 and it has not stopped. I hear it every single time I swallow and can even kind of make it happen if I wiggle my ears. I didn't get tinnitus until a year ago so it seems unrelated in my case although maybe a weird coincidence! I had quite a lot of ear infections as a child but that's the only thing I can think of. Never had even a hint of tinnitus until decades later. Only good thing for me at least is I've had it so long I barely notice it (unlike the tinnitus unfortunately).
       
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    14. New Guy
      Doh

      New Guy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      @MrCrybaby
      I just swallowed and listened and my right ear crackled so perhaps it hasn't gone away at all (That was an attempt at a joke). It's normal to hear your ears crackle because of eustachian tubes but the crackling right after t is a much different thing. It's more like a squeaky crackle.

      I don't remember when the crackling went away or how. All I know is all the symptoms I had when t started have faded except the darned t. I also notice, almost 2 years later, sometimes my ears feel tense or tight. It doesn't concern me but it tells me perhaps there is more healing to come for me. Oh, and sometimes my eardrum flutters, especially in my right ear.

      If you find my first post on the site it chronicles my time with t, I assure you I was just as much of a wreck as you two months in and I stayed a wreck for a long time after. I've still got some recovery to go both with my ears and my mind.

      I want to stress that if you're patient, really patient because ears take a long time to heal and our minds take a long time to adjust things will improve. Whether the t gets quieter or not you will get more used to hearing it. If you have hyperacusis it calms for most, the crackling will fade, the tightness in your ears will fade. The key is time.

      I'm almost 2 years into this thing and still noticing very, very slow progress except with the level of the t. Hang in there, don't do anything drastic and you're going to make it.
       
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    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      Thanks, this is really reassuring. You’re right, I need to stop analyzing every last symptom and just get comfortable to wait it out. Not much else we can do.
       
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    16. ASilverLight
      Sad

      ASilverLight Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No clue
      Mine occasionally crackled with colds and infections and the like, always went away. Right now they're happily crackling away when I swallow or yawn but that's really not an issue to me at all. I find the noise kind of funny and at least it has some sort of explanation :ROFL: If this sticks for the rest of my life for some reason, so be it, it's not bothersome and I'd happily take a life of this instead of the possibility of T for the rest of my life (new into this ride, let's see where it goes)

      Edit: I do have a slight cold at the moment
       
    17. Christopher805

      Christopher805 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      May 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Neomycin
      I’ve had tinnitus and hyperacusis for 8 months. During that time, I started to notice how loud the sound of my swallow had become. It literally vibrates in my ear. The swallow sounds sharper and louder. I don’t know if this is the same as crackling. I used ear level sound generators for 6 months under TRT I am not sure if this caused the loudness. I just pray it goes away. What’s weird is that it’s not all the time.
       
    18. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Three years after the onset my ears still crackle when I swallow.
       
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    19. LukeYoung
      Mooooody

      LukeYoung Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      A loud Concert - Noise Exposure
      Mine hasn't gone either, only started with T also...
       
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    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      Hello all, I have finally finished freaking out. Thanks to those of you who shared supportive comments, I appreciate you! The clicking is still with me, but I have learned a lot from combing through TT and talking to irl friends with tinnitus.

      Here’s the low down:

      Clicking in the ears seems to be a pretty common feature of acoustic trauma. For many it starts after being in a loud environment, but not necessarily at the onset of tinnitus (mine started just over a month after my acoustic trauma, after being in a loud restaurant).In some cases it spontaneously recovers, but in others it persists indefinitely.

      Some science suggests that it may be a feature of hyperacusis, so a hyperacusis cure could fix it down the line. I hope this ends up being the case.

      In the mean time, learn to live with it, like your tinnitus tone. It may get better or it may not, but you’ll make it through Either way!
       
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    21. Tweedleman

      Tweedleman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/Noise
      My ears have clicked on and off for years when swallowing, yawning etc. I thought it was normal even when I had near perfect hearing and mild T. Always thought it was the sound of my eustachian tubes clicking. Since my acoustic trauma it has become more prevelant. If it's actually the sound of the bones/eardrum my guess is it's apart of the TTTS/middle ear subgroup of hyperacusis/tinnitus effects.
       
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    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      The clicking is tied to the irregular contractions of the inner ear muscles that open you etube/pull your ossicles from the eardrum. It is similar to ETD and TMJ clicking, which is why many get misdiagnosed. There are other symptoms that don’t get talked about often here as well, such as facial pain in the trigeminal nerve. I find this website has a clear rundown of hyperacusis symptoms, really helped me make sense of what I’m experiencing: https://hyperacusisfocus.org/research/symptoms/
       
    23. Tweedleman

      Tweedleman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/Noise
      Ya I've experienced many of those symptoms since my trauma. Been a little over 2 months and the eardrum crackling has stuck. Fullness still comes and goes. The only thing that seems to have diminished is the perception of sounds being louder than they are (clanking bottles etc), but it's still not totally back to normal either. I have a fuzzy lack of clarity in my right ear that I'm unsure wether to classify as a distortion. Both ears are neck and neck on my audiogram so I'm trying to discern if the right has more cochlear damage (synaptopothy) or if its a middle ear problem. It drives me nuts because the two ears percieve my voice at different clarity/intensity levels even though volume is the about the same.
       
    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      That sounds rough! The first 6-12 months are the time where the most recovery takes place, so be patient and rest your ears. The one point to keep in mind is that the damage (as I understand) is largely, if not entirely burdened by the cochlea. It can both be damaged at the nerve (synaptopathy) or hair cells themselves can be damaged or destroyed. As a result of this damage, the middle ear’s behaviour changes. For example, fullness can result from the ear holding itself in a protective position to protect the inner ear (tensor tympani, etc) but it can start over reacting to benign noise and creating all sorts of wild symptoms, such as facial pain.

      If you read other pages on that site it can be really enlightening. If I’m going to be stuck with these symptoms I might as well know how they are being generated by my body. Good luck!
       
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    25. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      You're thinking of the middle ear, not the inner ear.
       
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    26. New Guy
      Doh

      New Guy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      @Bill Bauer
      Bill, if I swallow I hear the crackle too but I don't think it's as bad as when I first got tinnitus. That was some crazy stuff going on those first months. I'd like to attribute the crackle I hear now to what 'normal' swallowing sounds like but truth be told I didn't pay attention before tinnitus.

      As mentioned I still have a tightness in my ears at the end of the day most days and my right ear has spasms sometimes. There's also significantly more frequent fleeting t than before tinnitus.

      I'm doing better with tinnitus than the first year. It's not the focus of my life but still on my mind especially when around loud unexpected noises.
       
    27. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Same here. For all I know, this is how it sounded 10 years ago, long before I got tinnitus.
       
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    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MrCrybaby

      MrCrybaby Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014, 10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      School Band, Acoustic Trauma
      I want a cure just so I can know once and for all if we've been crackling all along...
       
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    29. New Guy
      Doh

      New Guy Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      @MrCrybaby

      I wonder what would have happened if I asked that girl out in high school? I wonder what would have happened if I applied for that promotion? I wonder if my ears crackled when I swallowed before t?

      Some of life's mysteries that may never be solved.

      When I first got t there was a squeakiness to the crackliness when I swallowed and it felt like my ears had fluid in them. The squeakiness and fluid feeling is gone but the crackliness remains.
       
    30. Orions Pain
      Sad

      Orions Pain Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Accumulated noise damage
      This is exactly what I have now! The squeakiness drives me crazy and at times my ears pop so hard it almost hurts

      I can create the popping sensation without swallowing at times and I also feel a ton of post nasal drip constantly despite never having issues with allergies

      My T did come a few weeks after a really terrible cold so I wonder if the two are related or it’s just a coincidence
       
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