More so than many of us know, our bodies are constantly giving us warning signs about our health. Our ears are no exception. Our ears are trying to tell us something, and it’s very important that we “listen” to them. Read on to learn more about the ways our ears communicate with us and inform us about our health and wellness.
- Itchy Ears – An occasional itchy ear now and again is nothing to worry about. If you’re a hearing aid user, you may notice an increase in itchy ears as your ear canal adjusts to having something in there. One of the best remedies for itchy ears is a product called ProEar Oil. This naturally based oil is a gentle over the counter product to help relieve dry or itchy ears. You can pick up a bottle at most pharmacies, or here in our office. However, if your ears seem to be overly itchy, they may be sending you a message. Very itchy ears could be a sign of eczema, an allergy, or fungus in the ears. If you’re experiencing abnormal itching, or sudden and persistent itching, reach out to our office or your primary care physician.
- Red Ears – If your ears turn red, it could signal a hormonal change – including menopause. This is because hot flashes often originate in the upper body and face. A much rarer cause of red ears is called Red Ear Syndrome (RES). RES also causes a burning sensation and mild or severe pain.
- Wet, Sticky, or Discolored Earwax – Earwax is very normal, and different for each person. Often, we’re asked why your ears may produce more wax than someone else’s. There is no need to compare on what is normal production over what is not. However, if you find yourself suddenly experiencing an increase in production of ear wax, discolored ear wax, or wet and sticky discharge, you should consult with a medical professional immediately. Remember not to use at home items like Q-tips or peroxide to manage ear wax. Doing so can further impact wax, cause abrasions, or potentially increase the likelihood of infection. There are many over the counter ear washes, or you can seek the assistance of our office or your primary care physician.
- Abnormally Shaped Ears or Skin Tags – This one particularly relates to infants at birth. Many studies have connected malformed ears and the presence of skin tags on the ears at birth as a sign of potential kidney issues. Many pediatricians will run an ultrasound or other kidney assessment if an infant has misshapen ears and/or skin tags.
- Ear Pain – Ear pain can be connected to many different health concerns – some having nothing to do with your ears! Of course, the most common cause of ear pain is an ear infection, which can usually be treated with antibiotics. Other causes of ear pain could be nighttime teeth clenching, a toothache, issues with the temporomandibular joint (commonly referred to as TMJ), a tumor, sore throat, or tonsil stones.
- Creased Earlobes – A diagonal crease across the earlobe is called Frank’s sign, and is one marker of coronary artery disease. Researchers speculate that this marker could be due to the elastic tissue around the small blood vessels breaking down. If you have this crease, it does not mean you have coronary artery disease, but it may encourage you to practice healthy habits and lifestyle changes.
- Hearing Loss in One Ear – If you experience hearing loss, but only in one ear, it could be cause by a buildup of fluids or earwax, trauma, or an infection. In rare instances, however, this could be a sign of a tumor on the auditory nerve. Most of the time this tumor is benign, however, it should still be identified and treated.
- Ringing or Buzzing – If you experience an annoying ringing or buzzing in your ears, you are experiencing what is called tinnitus. Tinnitus is a very common symptom of many issues. Most commonly, the phantom ringing or buzzing in the ears is a sign of untreated hearing loss. In fact, 90% of people who have tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus could also be a sign of high blood pressure or cholesterol, Meniere’s disease, or an infection.
If your ears are sending you any of these messages, it is important to reach out to a healthcare practitioner near you. At Hearing Wellness Solutions, we provide comprehensive hearing health services, and if we find irregularities, we will refer you to a physician. If you are in the Springfield area, we would love to hear from you. Reach out to our friendly team today.