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A complaint of "brain crackling" is relatively uncommon even though there are a couple of possibilities that could lead to it. The good thing is that brain crackling is highly unlikely to be caused by a life-threatening condition.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is responsible for all the jaw movements that we make and has a lot of moving parts. It is made up of a number of ligaments, cartilages, a capsule, muscle attachments and an articular disc which is unique in the body.

All of these movements are affected by the position and occlusion of the teeth as well. Thus, as you can imagine, an incredibly large amount of things can go wrong, leading to TMJ disorders.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders

  • Pain or tenderness while moving the jaw
  • Clicking noises
  • Crepitus or a crackling noise
  • Lockjaw or when the jaw gets stuck during wide mouth opening
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • A feeling of tiredness throughout the day
  • Swelling on the face

Wearing away of the teeth due to night grinding or other deleterious habits will change the height at which they meet each other and thus the muscles attached to the TMJ will be stretched beyond their normal limits. This causes the pain and tenderness around the jaw.

Clicking, on the other hand, is commonly caused when the jaw has suffered a direct injury or trauma and is thus not able to rotate in its position without interference.

Crepitus, a crackling noise, is usually heard at an advanced stage of destruction in the TMJ. The articular disc is able to withstand a lot of force and thus does not have any blood vessels in the areas where maximum pressure is exerted. If the jaw movements become eccentric, then the disc starts to degenerate, leading to a crackling sound.

Noises from the TMJ may seem extremely loud to the affected person since the middle ear is in close proximity. Patients often wonder why other people around them are not able to hear the noises that seem to resonate in their ears.

TMJ disorders are notoriously difficult to treat because of the number of structures involved. A comprehensive treatment may involve work done by a general dentist and an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

Blocked Sinuses

The sinuses are air-filled cavities that serve a number of purposes, including humidifying the air, trapping microorganisms, affecting the pitch of the voice and regulating the temperature of the air breathed in.

These structures are lined by a layer of mucus-producing cells that are quite reactive to inflammation and infection. Under these conditions, the cells start to produce more mucus than can be cleared away from the sinuses and thus, the sinuses can become blocked.

Some people suffer from blocked sinuses chronically, so much so that they learn how to work around it. A crackling noise can be heard during the times when these sinuses unclog. Again, their proximity to the ear makes it likely that patients will experience these noises as being very loud, even when other people cannot hear them.

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