There’s a long-running old wives’ tale that if your ears are burning, it’s because someone is talking about you. But there are many different reasons why your ears may feel as if they are burning, all varying in severity.
Here are some common causes of a burning ear and what to do about them.
Common Causes for Burning Ears
Ear infection: One of the most common causes of burning ears is an ear infection. A patient may experience burning ears if they have a middle ear infection, which affects the eustachian tube. It becomes inflamed, swollen, and traps fluid. An outer ear infection – also known as swimmer’s ear – occurs when water drains out, which can cause bacterial growth, causing burning sensations inside and out. Many ear infections are easy to treat and clear after a few days of treatment.
Injury: Physical injury to the outer ear can result in swelling, redness, and burning sensation. There are a wide variety of ways of injuring the ear, from piercings and scratching the ear with objects or fingernails to contact injuries. This burning should be temporary as the injury heals, buts if there is bleeding, the pain worsens, or there are other symptoms, then see a doctor immediately.
Sunburn: Many people forget to coat their ears with sunscreen, which can lead to a sunburn. Treat an ear sunburn the same way you would a sunburn elsewhere, and always remember to put adequate sunscreen on your ears – just avoid putting it in your ears.
Skin conditions/allergies: Eczema or psoriasis can affect the skin around the ears, causing a burning sensation. In other cases, having an allergic reaction can also cause burning ears. Ensure you’re following treatment for any skin condition you may have to reduce flare-ups and carefully avoid allergens.
Temperature changes: The ears can feel as if they are burning after being exposed to heat to cold. Ensure you bundle up when it’s cold and can cool down when it’s hot.
Emotions: For some individuals, their emotions show on their face as they may become red due to intense emotions. This increase in blood to the face can cause your ears to temporarily feel as if they are burning. This will subside once you calm down.
Hormonal changes: In some cases, ears may feel as if they are burning due to changes in hormones or hormonal imbalances. Your doctor can run tests to check your hormones and offer treatments to regulate them.
Red ear syndrome: This is a rare condition that causes one or both earlobes to look red and burn. This condition isn’t well understood, but it is believed that it is more common among person’s who suffer from migraines, cluster headaches, jaw pain, and upper spine problems. Treatment isn’t completely reliable, but certain medications for migraines have been found to offer some relief.
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