Your ears are crucial for hearing what’s going on around you, being part of the conversation, and even for balance. However, did you know that they can actually tell you a great deal about your overall health and even indicate risk factors for serious diseases? From their position to their color to the type of wax inside them, your ears actually say a great deal about your health.
Most of us don’t give much thought to the wax in our ears, other than the need to clean it out regularly. However, the type of ear wax you have can tell you a great deal about your risk for certain health problems, particularly breast cancer in women. According to a study published in the FASEB Journal indicated that wet ear wax can be an indicator that you have a higher risk for developing breast cancer. It is a more reliable indicator for those of Asian descent. It can also show your exposure to toxins, heavy metals, and pollutants in the environment, according to the BBC.
There is some variation in the position of the ear in just about everyone, but they’re generally lined up with your eyes. However, if your ears are particularly low-set, it may be an indication of a number of conditions. According to the US National Library of Medicine, this is often seen in individuals with Down syndrome, as well as Turner syndrome, but it can also be a sign of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, Potter syndrome, Treacher Collins syndrome, and several other medical conditions.
Ear Lobe Creases
A diagonal crease on one or both of your earlobes can be a sign that you’re at a higher risk for heart disease, according to medical research. According to Health Line, “an earlobe with a crease has a fold, straight line or wrinkle that appears to cut the earlobe in half. An open letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1973 reported that a diagonal earlobe create was a potential indicator of coronary artery disease.” Since then, a number of other studies have also found a correlation between earlobe creases and your risk for heart disease. There’s also some connection between these creases and the onset of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. With that being said, some doctors don’t believe earlobe creases have anything to do with heart health.
A persistent ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears is a sign that you’re suffering from tinnitus. It’s a treatable condition, but it can also be a sign that there’s something else going on within your ear. For instance, tinnitus is actually a symptom of another disease – Meniere’s disease. In this situation, fluid fills the inner ear and causes pain, pressure, and tinnitus, as well as balance problems.
Red Ear Syndrome
For most of us, hot, red ears go hand in hand with being angry or embarrassed. However, for a handful of people, the condition actually signifies something more serious. Red ear syndrome, or RES, is a condition in which one or both ears turn bright red, and feel as though they are burning. In some situations, this condition is associated with migraines. In others, it may indicate trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. Yet other situations may indicate hormonal imbalances, including menopause.
As you can see, your ears actually have a lot to say about your overall health and wellness – they’re not just about hearing the world around you. By keeping an eye on the health of your ears, you’ll do your entire body a big favor.
This article was produced by Pin Drop, a Canada-wide chain of hearing centers.