What Your Ears Reveal About Your Health – Part 2

Ear examination

As we revealed in What Your Ears Reveal About Your Health – Part 1, your ears can reveal a lot about your overall health. If you are experiencing new symptoms, it is important to discuss it with your physician and find out if it could expose anything else that you might not know about. It is always important to take the time to listen to what our body is telling us. In the second article of this two-part series, we discuss five more symptoms to be aware of.

How do earaches affect my ear health?

Earaches can be extremely painful. Whether it’s an infection of the middle ear or outer ear or impacted earwax, it can make you feel miserable. However, there are times when an earache isn’t from an ear infection at all and can be from what is called “referred pain”. Things such as a toothache, jaw joint pain, cellulitis from an infected ear piercing, a tumor, or even a bad sore throat can cause an earache.

What does it mean if I have wet, sticky earwax?

Wet, sticky earwax can surprisingly reveal something about your breasts. According to Japanese researchers, people that have wet, sticky earwax can have an increased risk of developing breast cancer due to a mutation on the ABCC11 gene. This doesn’t mean that you will develop it, but it is important to keep in mind if you have this type of earwax combined with a family history of breast cancer. Don’t let this scare you though, most earwax is perfectly normal. Its job is to prevent bacteria and external particles out of the ear canal.

My ears always seem to be red, why is that?

Occasional red ears are most likely caused by something simple like flushing from embarrassment. However, if your ears are constant red, it could mean something more complicated. Women that are experiencing hormonal changes often have red ears as a symptom due to hot flashes, which can include the ears. Another possibility is Red Ear Syndrome (RES), which people also experience a burning sensation along with the red ears. People who have RES may also experience migraines or cluster headaches.

I have skin tags on my ears, what does that mean for my health?

If you have skin tags on your ears or an unusually shaped ear then it can be a sign of potential kidney problems. Babies that are born with either of these should be discussed with a pediatrician, because they may want an ultrasound of the kidneys.

Sometimes I experience ear numbness, could that be a sign of a health problem?

Ear numbness on its own shouldn’t cause an alarm; however, if you are experiencing other symptoms with it then it’s important to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. If you are experiencing arm weakness, facial drooping, or difficulty speaking along with ear numbness then you could be having a stroke and you should call an ambulance immediately. If you experience recurring vertigo, hearing loss, or ear ringing with the ear numbness then it could be a sign of Meniere’s disease. Ear numbness has also been known as a sign if your diabetes isn’t being managed. Ear numbness could also simply be a sign of an ear infection or earwax blockage. No matter what, it is important that it doesn’t go ignored and you get it checked out by a hearing care professional.

To schedule your yearly hearing exam, contact Sound Hearing Care at 864-881-1663. We have four convenient locations including Simpsonville, Greer, Travelers Rest, and Greenville.