As living, decaying organisms, we’re vulnerable to a wide range of infections from bacteria and viruses. We may take good care of most of our bodies, but many of us tend to neglect our ears. There’s a reason why the saying “don’t forget to wash behind your ears” is popular – it’s so easy to forget about them. The reason for this is because they are always on. Unlike our eyes, which we can close at will, we can’t naturally shut ourselves to sound. (Well, except for when we have noise cancelling headphones on of course.) Here is a list of six ear conditions that will make you pay more heed to the state of your ears.
1. Ear Shape Deformities
Does the shape of your ear matter? Apparently it does. According to an article published in The Scientific American, “It turns out these pieces (the external ear)—also called pinnae or auricula—act like funnels: They collect, amplify and direct sound waves to the ear canal.” Therefore, people with ear deformities might not be able to hear as well as people with regularly shaped years. There are some cases where babies are born completely without the presence of an external year. Using plastic surgery, doctors can help patients with this condition by forming a false external ear. Also, as the formation of the ear during the baby’s time inside the womb occurs alongside other important organs, it would be advisable to check if the child’s internal organs are alright as well.
2. Frank’s sign AKA Diagonal Earlobe Crease (DELC)
So it turns out that if you have a diagonal crease on your earlobe, you might want to make an appointment with your cardiologist. This interesting theory was first suggested by Dr Sanders T. Frank who noticed that people suffering from certain heart conditions may also find a crease on their earlobes. Stanford Medicine says that not every person who has DELC suffers from heart disease but after the initial identification of the crease in people with coronary artery disease, there have also been identifications of the crease in people with peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular disease- although the studies haven’t been completely definitive as to how or why this happens.
3. Ear Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes the fast production of new skin cells. It is characterized by red, patchy and itchy skin. People who have psoriasis on their ears, may suffer to a greater extent as the layer of skin on the ears are very thin. It may also cause a buildup of dead skin cells to accumulate inside the ear which could cause even more irritation.
This nightmare of a condition occurs when a growth of keratinizing squamous epithelium begins to expand and destroy the bones in the middle ear. It is even possible for this infection to spread to the brain – although this is rare. The symptoms of this condition include severe ear pain and discharge from the ear.
Are you hearing sounds that you know aren’t originating from an external source? This might be a sign of tinnitus. People have described hearing a ringing, clicking, buzzing or even a hissing sound that seems to originate from within their ear. If you’ve experienced this it might mean that you’ve experienced trauma in the ears, have extreme ear wax build-up, are suffering from hearing loss among many other things. According to the National Institute Of Deafness And Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD), “Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 25 million Americans, has experienced tinnitus lasting at least five minutes in the past year.” Please consult your doctor to find out what is causing the tinnitus.
6. Otitis Externa Or Swimmer’s Ear
Otitis externa is an inflammatory infection that takes place in the external auditory canal. This condition may be caused while swimming in contaminated water which allows bacteria and fungi to enter the ears. It has been found that patients suffering from diabetes are at a higher risk of contracting this infection. People who are prone to spending time inside water bodies should be especially cautious.