What Is the Clicking in My Ear…Should I Be Concerned?

Are you experiencing crackling, buzzing, ringing, static, or clicking in the ear sound? If so, it could be that your hearing aid batteries need to be changed. But if you’re experiencing clicking in the ear and you don’t wear hearing aids, it could be an indicator of tinnitus. In either case, the team at North Shore Hearing P.C. can help. 

At North Shore Hearing P.C., we’ve been helping people from all walks of life take control of their hearing for over two decades. We offer a range of specialized hearing solutions that can be tailored to your unique situation. 

And one of the most common questions we receive from our clients is “What is the clicking sound in my ear?”…and “Is it serious?” Let’s take a closer look at tinnitus – the most common cause of the clicking sound in the ear.

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is an abnormal ear noise that can arise in the outer ear, inner ear, middle ear, or in the nerve that runs from your brain to your inner ear. To be clear, tinnitus is not a disease, but rather a symptom of something wrong in the auditory system. In addition to ringing ears and clicking in the ears, people suffering from tinnitus often experience:

  • Decreased hearing
  • Problems sleeping
  • Elevated levels of stress
  • Depression
  • High levels of anxiety

If you are experiencing hearing loss, high-pitched continuous sounds, clicking in the ear, or ear throbbing, you could be suffering from tinnitus.

What Causes Tinnitus and Clicking in the Ear?

A common culprit of tinnitus is earwax buildup. If earwax accumulates and touches your eardrum, it can prevent it from functioning properly. Although this can happen naturally, earwax buildup is often attributed to improper cleaning of the ear. 

For example, people who use Q-tips often force the ear wax deeper into the ear canal, causing it to become compacted. However, you should never insert a Q-Tip or any other foreign object into your ear. If you do need to clean your ears, it’s imperative you know the safe earwax removal methods. Additional causes of tinnitus include: 

  • Sinus and ear infections
  • Aging
  • Trauma
  • Otosclerosis
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Thyroid abnormalities
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Tumors

Before assuming the worst, it’s important to consider all the options and consult with an audiologist about what you are experiencing. Sometimes, tinnitus is one of the first signs of hearing loss that happens naturally with aging. 

If someone is taking multiple medications, it could even be a side effect of the medicine. Research shows that more than 200 prescription drugs are known to cause tinnitus, sometimes even after patients stop taking them.

Individuals who work in relatively noisy environments—such as construction or factory workers—can develop tinnitus over time. The development of tinnitus can be due to ongoing exposure to noise that eventually harms the sensory hair cells in the ear that transmit sound to the brain. 

This is referred to as noise-induced hearing loss. This can also occur by consistently listening to loud music (e.g. concerts, earbuds at high volume), so young people should be especially careful.

How Can I Treat the Clicking in My Ear? 

Depending on the root cause of your tinnitus, it can be treated in different ways. Once you’ve gone through a physical exam and a hearing test, you can be recommended to the appropriate specialist who will give you the best advice on how to move forward. Common tinnitus treatments are:

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy
  • Relief therapy
  • Hearing aids
  • Depression counseling
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Meditation or yoga to reduce stress

What Medications Can Be Used to Treat Tinnitus?

Medications often given to tinnitus patients include:

  • Benzodiazepine – help suppress nerve function, decreasing tinnitus related symptoms
  • Prostaglandin analogues (e.g. Cytotec) – normally used to treat gastric ulcer and glaucoma, some tinnitus patients can use this medication depending on their root cause
  • Antidepressants – decrease intensity of tinnitus symptoms and levels of depression, which sometimes cause tinnitus to begin with

Home Remedies and Therapies for Tinnitus

If you are looking for a home remedy or alternate medicine to alleviate symptoms, there is not enough research to support many of the popular options. Even so, the following home remedies are commonly used in an attempt to find relief: 

  • Dietary restrictions (e.g. avoid coffee and limit salt intake)
  • Zinc supplements
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Stop smoking tobacco
  • Biofeedback
  • Acupuncture

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C. for Tinnitus Treatment

At North Shore Hearing P.C., we take a holistic approach to treating tinnitus. Our experienced audiological professionals will work closely with you to develop a unique program that meets your needs and helps you achieve your hearing goals. Our management approaches are proven to help provide relief and reduce symptoms. Learn more about how we treat tinnitus, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for relief.