Hearing is an almost miraculous thing. The fact that sound waves can be converted into electrical signals, sent to the brain, and then transformed into what we “hear” is an awe-inspiring bit of engineering.

But things do go wrong on occasion. Sometimes seriously so — but sometimes just temporarily in a weird kind of way. One day it can be like the old Rice Krispies commercial in your head, with a parade of “snap, crackle, and pop” filling your ears. What’s up with that?

It could just be a case of eustachian tube dysfunction — which sounds a little more alarming than it really is. The eustachian tube runs from your inner ear to the back of your nose. It’s actually rather vital in equalizing pressure inside your head — for example when you sneeze, yawn, or swallow. Without it, things would feel very strange indeed.
But it can get clogged up with fluid, especially when allergies or colds strike. When that happens, popping and crackling can be the result. It’s a problem that will usually clear up on its own, but if not, steroid nasal sprays usually do the trick.

Another even more common cause of “strange noises within” is a buildup of earwax. All matter of sounds can be produced when it cakes up and changes the acoustics of the inner ear — or is even deep enough to touch the surface of the eardrum and wreak havoc.

If careful ear cleaning at home doesn’t solve this problem, then it’s worth a trip to a medical professional to have deeply embedded earwax treated. It may seem silly, but digging deep into the ear with a Q-tip — or anything else — runs the risk of actually tearing or rupturing the eardrum (which needless to say will make matters much worse).