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Ears Strange Facts and Health Problems they can Cause

When people talk about ears, they normally visualize the outer ear. In actual fact the ear is made up of the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The outer ear is comprised of the auditory canal where wax collects and the pinna. The middle ear is made up of the Eustachian tube, ossicles, ear drum and inner ear cavity. The inner ear is comprised of the cochlea, oval and round windows and the semi-circular canals.

Physical Signs on the Outer Ear

In their book, Body Signs, Joan Liebmann-Smith and Jacqueline Nardi Egan say there are certain visible signs on the outer ear that can indicate health problems:
  • Because ears jut out from the body, they tend to burn quickly and are a sign of excess exposure to the sun
  • Red ears are also a sign of certain ear infections such as psoriasis
  • Certain types of migraine are often heralded by the ear on the affected side turning red
  • A permanent diagonal crease across the ear lobe is a possible sign of a familial tendency towards heart disease and diabetes
  • Deformed ears may be a birth defect or a sign of a genetic condition such as Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome

Problems with the Middle and Inner Ear

Health issues with the inner parts of the ear can affect the outer ear in certain circumstances:
  • Excess ear wax is one of the most common problems. It is normally produced to self-clean the ear but an excess may signify a diet low in fat or that the ears have been over-cleaned by a cotton bud or similar
  • A watery discharge can be a sign of a respiratory tract infection or some kind of infection of the ear
  • Pus leaking from the ear is a sign of a perforated ear drum or middle ear infection and needs medical attention
  • A bloodied discharge from the ear can be a sign of a tumor or trauma to the head and needs immediate medical attention
  • Itchy ears can be caused by over-cleaning, allergies, fungal infections and skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Vertigo or extreme dizziness accompanied by nausea and vomiting can be a sign of an ear infection, a brain tumor, head injury or Meniere’s Disease

Blocked Ears and Ringing Ears

There are various medical conditions that cause hearing problems and strange sensations in the ears:
  • Change of altitude when climbing or flying can cause ears to block up temporarily
  • Tinnitus is a condition where sufferers hear a ringing or other persistent sounds in their ears
  • Hearing a throbbing sound or heartbeat in one ear only can be a sign of an impending stroke. This needs urgent medical attention
Ears and hearing are interrelated and problems with the ears can also affect balance. Some health issues relate to the outer ear while others relate to the middle and inner ear. Certain symptoms are mild and can be solved easily while others need medical attention. It is important to care properly for ears.

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