Crackling Sound While Breathing


Are your lungs making a crackling sound by breathing? If you notice a wheezing or crackling sound when you exhale and inhale as you breathe- it may be worrisome. However, sometimes there are just normal sounds the lungs make when there is an excess of mucus or not serious conditions that cause it. Even if you think it is just normal, there are certain other symptoms that can give you a better idea of whether or not the cracking sound while breathing is a sign of something more serious.


Crackling Sound While Breathing: The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Any conditions, chronic or temporary can cause a rattle or crackling sound while breathing. However, the symptoms qualify in so many circumstances to all more serious issues- that it is of key importance that you understand both, each- the good and the bad that can be associated with crackling sounds while breathing.

#1 Cause of crackling while you breathe: Pneumonia

Pneumonia is nothing to play with! It can be contracted by a virus and bacterial matter, Both are serious conditions that are associated with a high fatality rate. However, once you hear a crackling in your lungs, or are coughing up green, bloody, yellow, or discolored phlegm from your lungs, you should consult with a doctor immediately.

Especially, when the crackle sound is associated with the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • No cough present-ot a present cough vanishes
  • Cough of blood, Phlegm of green, black,  grey, brown, yellow color
  • Excessive coughing
  • Problems breathing
  • Pain when exhaling and inhaling
  • Headache
  • Bone shaking chills
  • Chest pain (localized or referred)
  • Body aches, pain, muscle pain, joint pain
  • Excessive sweating


Treatments of pneumonia, depend upon the severity of the medical condition. Your doctor can determine whether or not you have viral or bacterial pneumonia by taking a few xrays along with blood tests. The treatment for pneumonia depends on the severity and the cause itself.

Pneumonia can be fatal is left untreated. The best thing you can do is notice the signs symptoms and get immediate help upon the recognition of the major signs and symptoms. In the case of pneumonia the sooner the better that you seek medical attention.

#2 Cause of Crackling Sound While You Breathe: Asthma

Asthma is an illness that happens for many reasons. It is usually chronic and sometimes can prove fatal when left un-diagnosed and unprepared for (inhalers.) Asthma occurs when there is an excess production of mucus, when the bronchi in the lungs swell and constrict the airway.

Symptoms That Present

  • Heavy, tight feeling in chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing when inhaling or exhaling
  • Crackling sound while breathing
  • Coughing
  • Purple/Blue lips from lack of oxygen in major attacks

Treatment for Asthma

It is important that you know that asthma cannot be cured. However, it can be controlled by medication, and other protocols including:

  • Using Allergy efficient filters and air cleaners in the home
  • Watch asthma in cold weather, cover your mouth
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Find out the triggers of your asthma and avoid them
  • Always have your emergency inhaler on hand

#3 Cause of crackling while you breathe: Bronchitis

Bronchitis is where the bronchial tubes in your lungs become irritated and inflamed. There are two types of bronchitis: acute or chronic. You can get acute bronchitis when you have an underlying infection causing it. This results in wheezing and often a crackling sound while breathing. Chronic bronchitis is something that is persistent and commonly is most associated with smoking cigarettes.

Symptoms that Present:

  • Wheezing or crackling sounds
  • Heavy feeling or sensation in chest
  • Hoarse voice or laryngitis
  • Sometimes fever, malaise, and headache
  • Sharp or dull chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment For Bronchitis

Bronchitis can be treated by several methods including:

  • Steroids to reduce the inflammation
  • Antibiotics to treat any underlying infections
  • Recommendation for cessation smoking aids
  • Pulmonary therapy (Respiratory therapy)
  • Breathing treatments (medication variable)
  • Use of a humidifier
  • Rest and drinking plenty of fluids
  • Inhaler or allergy medications

#4 Cause of crackling while you breathe: Pulmonary Edema

Fluid build-up in the air sac’s of your lungs can cause the condition known as Pulmonary Edema. Pulmonary edema is brought about by such root causes such as infection, medication, heart failure, and more.

Symptoms that Present 

  • Crackling sound while breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Disorientation, confusion, anxiety
  • Pale skin

Treatment For Pulmonary Edema

  • Medication
  • Hospitalization
  • Possible Chest Tube Insertion
  • Low Salt Diet
  • Blood Pressure Control

#5 Cause of cracking while you breathe: Emphysema

Emphysema is condition that is destructive to the air sacs in the lungs. It can cause a crackling sound in the lungs while you breathe. One of the major causes of this very bad disease, is the use of cigarettes. Emphysema also results in one not getting enough oxygen.

  • Problems with breathing
  • Blue/purple lips
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or crackling, popping sounds while breathing

Treatment For Emphysema

The damage caused by Emphysema is irreparable. As it worsens symptoms also get more severe. Some treatments that help slow down the damage this disease causes and to alleviate the symptoms that are uncomfortable are:

  • Cessation of smoking
  • Avoid exposure to cleaners, scents, perfumes, and other air pollutants
  • Steroids either orally or distributed through breathing apparatus
  • Inhalers that aid in opening the airways
  • Antibiotics to prevent infections or to cure them
  • Pulmonary rehab
  • Permanent oxygen administration (supplementation)


#6 Cause of cracking while you breathe: Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is originated in the lungs. One of the main risks that cause this type of cancer is smoking. However, you could be a non-smoker and still contract it. Cancer cells (tumors) can grow and expand in the lungs which cause many symptoms including that of crackling sound while breathing.

Symptoms that Present:

  • General unwell feeling
  • Hard time breathing
  • Cough that will not go away
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood

Sometimes there are no signs that present when a person has lung cancer and by the time the symptoms do show up and are noticeable the cancer has already increased in stage or severity. There are many treatments for lung cancer including:

  • Surgery to remove the cancerous part of the lung
  • Chemotherapy/Radiation
  • Recommendation to Quit Smoking
  • Other medications
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Breathing treatments

Crackling Sound While Breathing: Conclusion

A crackling sound while breathing should be checked out if it is occurring or has occurred more than a few days. If it comes and goes and there is no fever, cough, too much pain or other more sever symptoms associated with it- it could be just something minor that can be treated with avoidance of smoking, rest, antibiotics or inhalers. However, for more severe cases of crackling sound while breathing the physician may have to perform more tests to determine if it could be a condition such as pulmonary edema, lung cancer, and more.


  1. It has been two months living in Delhi during one and half months I’m good. And i had cold, mild fever and i got relief but the cough won’t go away. I don’t know what’s the reason but it keeps me coughing constantly feels like i still have unripened dry cough.
    Constant coughing, wheezing sound, headache, whole body muscle pain when woke up in the morning especially the joint parts, coughing with white mucus and few days back coughing with bloods.

    • If you are not used to the pollution in the city, it could be an environmental cause–especially if you are outside a lot for your work or commute. Bronchitis, a sinus infection, tuberculosis and a few other conditions could also cause this to happen. To make sure that it is nothing major, go to the doctor. If you cannot afford one right now, I would start by trying to reduce your exposure to pollutants in the air to see if that helps. Ideally though, you should go to your doctor to be checked out. It may just be a bad sinus infection or chronic bronchitis, but it would be safer to be diagnosed in person.

  2. Noise comes out of the left side of my breast area. Sounds like someone moaning.
    No fever, phlem or cold but a soar throat.
    Worse in the morning.
    Been 4 days. Should I be concerned.

    • Continue to monitor this experience. Take deep breaths, quick breaths, and long breaths. Listen closely to the sounds that you have. If these continue for another few days and you feel like speaking with a doctor, then make an appointment. By continuing to monitor your experiences, you will be better able to answer their questions. However, these sounds will likely fade on their own. Reduce stress in your life at this time. Best of luck, Bobbie!

  3. Have had crackling, coughing up of mucus, sometimes yellow sometimes white, shorness of breath, and a general unwell feeling with no energy for over 2 weeks. Dr called out a Z pack which I finished Saturday but things arent getting any better. I have coughing fits that end in me throwing up or having what I call a seizure cough, a prolonged cough with intense shaking. What do I do now?

    • If you finished your entire prescription and still are not feeling any better, you should go back to the doctor. It could be that you were misdiagnosed, or it could be that the antibiotics were just not effective against that particular strain. Go to your doctor to find out more about the problem and stay safe!

  4. I have developed a cough, and while it hurt in the beginning in the upper part of chest,it doesn’t hurt now except when I have a coughing fit and it hurts like the bottom of my lungs are being pulled upward. I also have been hearing crackling in lungs and in my throat but mostly lungs. I have no other symptoms (my back was achy and too sensitive to touch including clothing but that was weeks ago) no fever,I don’t know if I can say no headaches because I have migraines and had 2 this week. I feel fine and normal except for this cough. I have never heard crackling in my lungs and throat before. Thank you

    • You should go to the doctor to make sure that you do not have an infection or another condition causing your symptoms. Make sure to tell the doctor everything that you are experiencing to make sure that you get an accurate diagnosis.

  5. Hi, I’m hoping you can give me some advice. I have had a persistent chronic cough and breathing problems for 4 plus weeks now. I have a crackling gurgling sound and it sounds like there is lots of fluid bubbling up from my lungs. I have difficulty holding a conversation as I run out of breath and cough. The gurgling and coughing gets worse when I move. I am on my third round of antibiotics and I have had 2 seven day courses of prednisone. I do seem to improve when on prednisone. On my first visit to the doctor he said I had asthma and I got a ventilin inhaler. On the second visit he said I had bronchitis. I have been for an xray and had blood tests which were all clear. A sputum test came back with a result of mixed respiratory bugs but nothing serious. I am weary and need to be able to breathe more easily to keep working. Should I ask if a preventative inhaler would help? Any other ideas welcome. Thanks for your time.

    • It is good that you have been speaking with a doctor. If you find that your doctor is not giving you adequate care, then it may be wise of you to speak with another doctor. They will be able to give you additional information. Continue to monitor the changes and experiences that you are having. Take note of this information so you can better answer your doctor’s questions in the future. Reduce stress in your life at this time. Reduce dairy intake as well. Best of luck, Cath!

  6. I’m hearing whizzing sound in my lungs. When I walk I feel breathless. Frequent mucus creation. Heavy cough. A little bit of chest pain on right side. There no chest tightness, mucus is colorless, nothing like above symptoms.
    It started suddenly, In morning I was ok, but in afternoon it becomes difficult to lie down. It started 2 days ago. Should I need to consult doctor.

    • If you feel as though it would be beneficial for you to consult a doctor, then be sure to do so. If you are not able to make an appointment within this week, then be sure to continue to monitor your experiences. Monitor and note your experiences anyway, as you will be able to better answer your doctor’s questions. If you find that the feelings subside, then you may have just been congested. Best of luck, Sam!

  7. Hello, I’ve had persistant “bubbling” or the sound of like “velcro ripping” in my esophagus region (maybe larynx) and has been going on for a year, and getting progressively worse. It started just as a “click” in my throat upon inhalation, but as I said it is now bubbling AND clicking. It starts as I lay down, but is getting persistently worse… now bubbling even in a sitting position. The bubbling makes me cough ALOT. I constantly try to clear my throat, but is hard as I can’t seem to clear it. I was given an inhaler, but it doesn’t seem to be helping at all. In the morning, most times, I can hardly speak as my throat is so congested. Like I have a throat full of rubber bands that I can not clear! It’s embarrassing to be honest. I have a stethoscope and can hear the bubbling in my throat. It is upon INHALING that the “bubbling” or “velcro ripping” occurs. Thanking you in advance for any help or recommendations. =)

    • It sounds as though you have been to doctor about this. You may need to speak with a throat specialist. Speak with your medical professional and see if they know a otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat doctor. They will be able to give you additional information. Because you have been experiencing this for a year, it would be unwise of us to give you any advice other than to speak with a doctor. Good luck, Kim!

    • Hi Kim I have this problem as well but for 3 years now. Did u ever find out what is was? I can’t get anywhere with my doctor:(.. please let me know . Thanks , Trish.

  8. Hi
    Had a bad a tickle in my throat.
    Turned into bad cough.
    Could hear my lungs breathing while I was trying to sleep. Gurgling noise.
    Still bad cough. Should I get medication? This makes me think it is deep in my lungs infection? Thank you…ThsnkU

    • Continue to monitor your experiences over the next week. If the sounds persist, then it would be wise for you to speak with a medical professional. It likely is a temporary problem, however. Reduce stress in your life. Try to get more sleep as well. It is important for you to speak with a doctor if you have any major problems at any time. Best of luck!

  9. I have just the weird crackling noise in my chest I don’t feel anything that the symptoms were stated in any of these. I just feel a crackling on the top of my lung and I cough it goes away for about ten min and it comes back again. I try to cough it out and when I do it’s just mucus. No color to the mucus just plain old normal stuff. Is this dangerous? Or life threatening I have no insurance. So I am trying to get this figured out before I need to go to hospital or die.

    • It is almost certain that you are having a temporary problem. Continue to monitor the changes that you are experiencing. If it continues for a week or causes you to have extreme difficulty in breathing, then speak with a doctor. That said, it is likely that you will be fine within a few days. Reduce stress on your body and in your life at this time. Remain positive as you move forward. Have a great week, D.

  10. What exactly does crackling in the lungs/chest sound like? Is it loud, constant, and immediately noticeable? Ir can it take some time to notice? Also, where would you feel the cracking? in the ribcage?

    • Crackling may feel like a cat burr inside of your lungs. It will not be in your rib cage, but rather inside of your body. You may feel like bubbles are bouncing around an popping. However, each person may describe these feelings differently than someone else. It may also be accompanied by a bubbling feeling in the throat. Continue to be mindful as you move forward. Thank you for your comment, Linette!

  11. I had a bad stomach nfection about 8 months ago that spread to my lungs. I was given antibiotics and steroids which apparently cured the infection but I’ve had lung crackles ever since. I feel OK but I wonder if there might still be traces of infection causing the problem.

    • It is possible that there are still traces of the infection. If you are concern, then it would be most wise of you to make an appointment with your doctor. This will give you a chance to voice your concerns and to determine your status. Continue to be mindful and monitor the experiences that you are having. Enjoy life and remain positive, Don!

  12. Hi, I quitted smoking a few months ago and noticed that I usually spit black mucus every morning when I wake up. Aside from this, I and the people around me hear a wheezing sound everytime I breathe. No other symptoms. What might have caused these?

    • Your symptoms are almost certainly your body getting over your previous addiction. Kudos for quitting and continuing to remain healthy. You may find in the future that these problems will go away on their own. If you determine that you want to speed up this process, then make an appointment with a medical professional. For now, understand that your body is going through natural purification processes. Remain mindful and enjoy your newly found healthy life, John!

  13. Hi there
    I had what thought cold for few wks. I saw a neurologist over migraines & had ECG and found heart abnormality, both brachyardia & Tachyardia & stop., & my sinus problems were picked up too, so they want to do 24hr monitor but still not organised by time come away. . I boooked holiday and come away for 2wks . I noticed at home before coming that nights are difficult sleeping , cannot lay dwn for breathing to kp taking breaths a lot , crackling & weezing i am coughing what seems creamy yellow phlegm (sorry Tmi) but as i have other conditions am struggling to know if there is an issue. I get fluid overflpw in tummy, i get it in my leg(s) i feel inflamation in my head feels rough night times and mornings. I am only in 1st wk of holiday & proving difficult with these coughing fits & struggling getting my breath during night . What can i do ? . I use a nasal steroid for sinus. I am on few meds already. I am so tired & aching & get ‘some’ niggly chest needle prick type pains. In centre.
    Thanks x

    • You should make an appointment with your medical professional as soon as you are able. If they are not helping you, then it would be wise of you to speak with another doctor for an additional opinion. Until you make this appointment, it would be wise for you to reduce stress on your body an in your life at this time. Perhaps take additional time to sleep and change your diet if you determine that it would be wise to do so. Remain positive and mindful as you move into the future, Caroline!

    • It is possible that your body is recovering from the sickness that you had and you are feeling the remaining symptoms. If you are feeling healthy, then it is likely that you are fine. However, if you continue to remain concerned, then it would be wise of you to speak with a medical professional. At this time, reduce stress in your life and speak less. This will give your throat a vacation to recuperate. Perhaps drink some warm tea and relax for the next few days. Best of luck, Jason!

  14. I started having this sinus like symptoms on my head; the pressure, difficult breathing and disoriented and unable to concentrate. After three weeks or so I felt much better, but then I started to feel congestion on my chest and crackling sound. I took some over the counter meds such as Muxinex, Tukol, and other home remedies (aloe vera, honey and tequila blended together), but the crackling sound did not go away. I ended up going to urgent care about a week ago and they took X-ray and prescribed the Zpack antibiotics 250 MG for 5 days. That did absolutely nothing for me. I contacted them over the phone and complained that the meds did nothing. They prescribed Amox-Clav 875 MG (20 pills) to take one every 12 hours. I been taking it for five days now, but that crackling sound is not going away. I’ll continue to take it, but not sure it it will work. I’m concern and I really want this to go away 🙁

    • It seems like you have commented twice on this post. I have to answer and approve each comment individually, so it may sometimes take me a little while to answer all the comments. If you do not see your response right away, do not worry because you will. Read through my first response and let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for commenting!

  15. I started having this sinus like symptoms on my head, the pressure, difficult breathing and disoriented and unable to concentrated. After three weeks or so I felt much better, but then I started to feel congestion on my chest and crackling sound. I took, mixinex, Tukol, home remedy (alovera, honey and tequila blended together), but the crackling sound did not go away. I ended up going to urgent care about a week ago and they took X-ray and prescribed the Zpack antibiotics 250 MG for 5 days. That did absolutely nothing for me. I called them over the phone and complained that the meds did nothing. They prescribed Amox-Clav 875 MG 20 pills to take one every 12 hours. I been taking it for five days now, but that crackling sound is not going away. I’ll continue to take it,but not sure it it will work. I’m concern and want this to go away 🙁

    • Try going to your normal doctor instead of the emergency room (unless you suddenly have severe problems breathing again). Your general practitioner knows you, your medical history and has the time to really sit and listen to your symptoms. Emergency rooms are excellent for an emergency, but it is easy for something to be missed in the rush. Plus, your normal doctor knows your medical history and everything about your current health, so he or she is often best at helping tricky situations.

  16. I’m having crackling lungs as well, but for the last three days I’ve been disoriented and headache. I’ve had crackling lungs for years, and only recently got these symptoms. Along with my nasal passages blocking completely up unless I’m standing up. Its gotten to the point where I can’t sleep. Thoughts?

    • You should go to the doctor and get checked out. Crackling lungs are generally not a good sign, so your doctor may want to run a few tests to see what is causing your problems. Stay safe, Calvin!

  17. For about 8 months now I have a gurgling sound/ cracking sound when I inhale, I quit smoking 5 months ago thinking that was the problem now I don’t know. When preforming normal activity I now get short of breath I guess more like I just can’t breath and have to stop bend over and try to breath it passes pretty quickly and I can continue for a little bit. I went to a lung doctor he told me to walk 15 mins a day.. at my job I walk 8-12 miles a day, but I try to include the extra 15 now.. after listening to me for 30 sec he gave me a daily inhaler and an emergency inhaler they are like powder I inhale it gets all over my mouth and helps none. I travel 11 months out of the year so no time for many doctor visits, been doing some reading that scares me any thoughts on this.

    • You may want to go back to your doctor–make sure that you tell your doctor that you are already walking 8 to 12 miles a day. Your lungs may just need time to heal, or they may be something else going on. Either way, you should probably go back to your doctor and get checked out again. And don’t read too much online! There may be nothing major wrong with you, and some of the diseases you read online can cause you to panic unnecessarily. Just go to your doctor again and make sure that there is nothing more serious. Mention that you are walking (and that it does not seem to help) and that your current inhaler is not helping you either.

  18. Been on 9 courses of antibiotics since January for a crackling in lungs and bad sound in my chest. Constant wheezing struggle to take deep breaths and get alot of tightening in the chest

    • That sounds terrible. Are the antibiotics helping? Give them a bit to take effect. If you do not start noticing a difference (or if it becomes even harder to breathe), you may want to go back to your doctor and get checked out again. Good luck and stay safe, Mlcc!

    • If it is from a crackling sound when you breath, you should probably go to the doctor to get your lungs checked out. If you are actually hearing voices, you should probably go to the doctor for that as well. Good luck, Barbie!


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