What your ears reveal about your health – Part One

Doctor examined the patient's ear with Otoscope. Patient seem to have problems with hearing.

Your ears can reveal a lot about your overall health. It is important to pay attention to other signs that your body might be trying to tell you. In the first article of this two-part series, we review the first five symptoms to pay attention.

What do creased earlobes mean for my health?

As people age, wrinkles occur naturally all over the body. If you notice a diagonal crease in the middle of your earlobe, also called Frank’s sign, it could be a sign of coronary artery disease. This could be due to a breakdown of elastic tissue around the small blood vessels in both the ear and heart. If you do have the crease, don’t worry because it is only one sign. It should encourage you to start incorporating heart-healthy habits and see your physician for a checkup.

What could hearing loss reveal about my health?

Hearing loss can affect not only your hearing but studies have shown that hearing loss can lead to a cognitive decline and even dementia. Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that people with moderate hearing loss have three times the risk of developing dementia. The exact reasons aren’t known, but they believe it could be due to the brain working extra hard to hear things.

What other health signs should I be aware of if I only have hearing loss in one ear?

People with hearing loss in only one ear may have suffered from trauma to that ear or an infection or even have fluid built up in that ear only. However, in rare cases having hearing loss in only one ear can also be caused by a benign acoustic neuroma (tumor). Most patients who have acoustic neuromas have one-sided hearing loss or one-sided ear ringing. People with a tumor in the tight ear canal passage often display other symptoms such as imbalance, tinnitus, and facial weakness. If you have any of these symptoms, consult with your physician and ask to have an MRI.

What could the ringing in my ears disclose about my health?

More than 50 million Americans experience tinnitus (that annoying ringing in your ears) to some degree. Most tinnitus sufferers developed it from being exposed to loud noises, repeated ear infections, or even certain medications can lead to tinnitus if taken for a prolonged period. Other health issues that can coincide with tinnitus are high blood pressure or high cholesterol, Meniere’s disease (an inner-ear disorder), tumors, hormonal changes, or preeclampsia if you are pregnant. If you have any other symptoms of any of these health issues, contact your physician and have your hearing checked as well.

What could my itchy ears mean for my health?

If your ears are repeatedly itchy, then you most likely have fungus or eczema in your ears. If you have a buildup of white, feta cheese-type gunk in the ear canal then you have fungus. If you notice white flakes and a red ear canal or outer ear then you have eczema. Neither one should be ignored because they can lead to temporary hearing loss, and the itching from eczema can lead to a fungal infection.

Next month we will reveal five more health signs that our ears can reveal. If you have any of the health signs discussed in this article, contact Sound Hearing Care to meet with one of our hearing care specialists. We have four convenient locations including Simpsonville, Greer, Travelers Rest, and Greenville.