When we think about our ears, we usually focus on their ability to hear. But aside from this main function, how they look can reveal certain things about our health.
Hearing quality, the appearance of our ears, wax production, and balance regulation offer important insight into our overall health. Recognizing these signs and symptoms is essential for better understanding of what’s going on inside our body.
6 things your ears reveal about your health
Diabetes: Hearing loss, although a condition on its own, can also be a symptom of diabetes. Hearing loss has been found to be twice as common in diabetics, compared to people without diabetes. Pre-diabetics also have a 30 percent higher risk of hearing loss, compared to people with normal blood sugar levels. The connection may be explained by the available blood circulation to the ear – which is impacted in diabetes.
Clogged arteries: If your earlobes have a diagonal crease, it could be a sign of clogged arteries and an indicator of heart disease. One study found that patients with diagonal earlobe creases are far more likely to show signs of heart disease, compared to individuals without wrinkled earlobes.
Oral health problems: Ear pain could be a sign of problems occurring in the mouth. Ear pain can actually result from problems in the jaw, in particular, a disorder that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This pain can occur when chewing, talking, or even opening your mouth widely.
Underlying health condition: Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, can actually be a symptom of over 200 different conditions, including anxiety, blood pressure issues, depression, and more. If tinnitus is temporary, you may not have to worry, but if the problem is chronic, you may want to book an appointment with your doctor to see what is going on.
Allergies: Itchy, clogged, or swelling ears could be another allergy symptom, because the nose and ears are connected by the Eustachian tube. When your nose gets congested, you can also experience symptoms in the ears. A decongestant can commonly fix these problems.
Increased risk of illness: Earwax may be a predictor of illness, according to research studies. One study found an association between the mutation of ABCC11 gene – associated with an increased risk of breast cancer – and wet, sticky earwax. Although earwax isn’t commonly associated with disease diagnosis, if it is green or has a weird smell, then it could indicate an ear infection.