People hear balloons popping in their head, snapping, clapping and crackling and wonder if it’s an aneurysm rupturing.
Though when an aneurysm ruptures in the classic sense, a so-called thunderclap headache results—a headache so painful that it could drop a person to their knees.
Nevertheless, an anxious person may wonder about an aneurysm developing only a tiny and slowly unfolding tear, which – from this individual’s point of view – would not always cause the show-stopping headache.
Hearing an Aneurysm Rupture:
Is this Ever Possible?
“To my knowledge, a brain aneurysm rupture does not produce any sounds which can be appreciated,” says Farhan Siddiq, MD, a neurosurgeon with University of Missouri Health Care.
“Even in cases of an intra-operative rupture, there are no sounds,” continues Dr. Siddiq.
Yes, you can hear a bone breaking and your knuckles cracking, but when an aneurysm ruptures, there is no “popping,” “cracking” or “snapping,” not even a gentler pulsing or whooshing sound.
Dr. Siddiq also explains, “There is no gradual tearing or very tiny rupture. I would advise patients to talk to their doctor about the aneurysm bleeding risk. If the bleeding risk is substantial, you should consider treatment.
“Most neurosurgeons who treat aneurysms nowadays are familiar with both open surgical and minimally invasive treatment of aneurysms.
“Gradual tearing, or very tiny ruptures, do not occur. When an aneurysm ruptures, there is usually always sudden headache, with or without associated neurologic symptoms.”
So no matter what you’ve been hearing going on inside your head lately, even what seems to be loud sounds (banging, thumping, clapping), you can be assured that it is not a rupturing aneurysm.
However, you’ll want to see a doctor anyways to find out what can be causing these sounds.
For example, it can be a form of tinnitus, which is the subjective sound that a person hears inside their ears.
Tinnitus is normally described as a “ringing” or high pitch sound, but there are causes of tinnitus that patients also describe as popping, snapping, clapping, crackling, thumping and whooshing.
Again, these are not caused by a rupturing aneurysm, but may indeed have a very serious cause that needs prompt attention.
Dr. Siddiq is fellowship-trained in endovascular surgical neuroradiology and vascular neurology from the University of Minnesota Medical Center. His areas of special focus also include brain aneurysms and carotid disease.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.