Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I answer the question 'Does the menopause affect your ears?'.
I always thought that problems with the ears were a really rare symptom in menopause. But I'm finding that over the last few years, more and more women are contacting me wondering if what's happening to their ears is anything to do with menopause.
So, I thought today, I would look at possible causes, what problems you may encounter, and also what you can do to help yourself.
Does menopause affect your ears?
Falling oestrogen can cause the mucus membranes within the inner ear to dry out, which can affect your ears in several ways during menopause. A few ear problems which women can face at this time include ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, earache, blocked ears, hot ears and itchy ears.
Ear problems in menopause
Let's look at 8 ear problems you might face during menopause, including what causes them and what can help.
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1. Inner ear changes
Falling oestrogen can affect the tube and the inner ear. What can happen here is there can be a reduction of mucus. This can also affect your balance, causing dizziness which is quite a common menopause problem.
You may also develop something called Meniere's disease. This can be quite serious. It's a horrible one. You can lose your balance. You can feel seasick and you could end up in bed for a couple of days.
2. Ringing in ears
This is called tinnitus and it can be caused by several factors. It could be due to problems with the inner ear. It could also be due to work done on your jaw, believe it or not. If you've had a lot of dental work done, this can affect what's called the mandibular joints which are just here, which can have a knock-on effect on the ears.
So, if you're getting ringing in the ears and you've had a lot of dental work done, because, obviously, all the stretching, then maybe that's something that you could certainly look into.
Tinnitus may also be caused by things like high blood pressure, which can be a problem during menopause. So again, always a good idea to get your blood pressure checked out.
It could also be caused by high consumption of caffeine, high salt, and high sugar foods. So have a look at your diet and try to eat less of these types of foods.
Sometimes, tinnitus can be due to poor circulation to the head, and poor circulation can be a problem during menopause. The herb Ginkgo biloba is known to help to improve circulation, so that may help with tinnitus as well.
3. Hearing loss
Some women do say that they find that their hearing has deteriorated. The first thing to do here is to double-check with your doctor, but it could be due to the mucus in the ear drying out.
Some women find the opposite. This is a strange one, but while some women find that their hearing deteriorates, other women can find that their sense of hearing gets really sensitive. So situations like going shopping, being in crowds, loud noises, can be very, very uncomfortable.
4. Painful ears/earache
Due to the inner ear becoming more drier, you may find that you're more prone to ear infections. What can also happen is that you can get more sensitive to sinus infections and sometimes, if you get blocked sinuses, that can also affect the ears, too.
5. Blocked ears
Again, if the mucus in the ears is drying out, it's more difficult for the ears to keep themselves clean. For blocked ears, there is a lovely remedy that's traditionally known to help called Plantago, which can be used.
It is thought that high-fat diets can also be a factor in this particular problem, so maybe limit your intake of these types of foods to see if that helps.
6. Hot ears
Hot ears can be linked to hot flushes or night sweats because for some women, the sweats can come from the chest up and go right through the head. Hot ears can be quite uncomfortable, with some women finding that they can also start to throb a little bit.
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Sometimes, it may be due to the type of antiperspirant you're wearing. Remember, if you are wearing antiperspirants, it's going to stop your body's temperature regulation from working properly because your body can't sweat from the armpits. Therefore, the body will find somewhere else to lose the heat and that may end up being the ears.
So, if you suffer from hot ears a lot of the time and they're not associated with hot flushes or sweats, then maybe change to a natural deodorant that allows your body to perspire but will still keep you feeling nice and fresh, and cool.
7. Itchy ears
This can be due to things like eczema. A lot of women tell me that they get eczema just on the inside of the ear. Some find that they get itchy behind the ears as well. During menopause, skin can get drier and itchier, which can affect the skin on your ears too.
To help you could look at something like our soothing Neem Cream that can be applied around the ears and just inside the earlobes as well.
8. Side effect of medication
Some forms of medication may affect the ears. So, if your symptoms have started after you've maybe been on new medication, then just double-check the side effects of the medication.
I have heard that some forms of HRT may be a factor so again, all medication comes with a patient information leaflet that will list any potential side effects so just have a good look at this.
What else can help your ears during menopause?
There are several other things you can do to help your ears at this time. I recommend that you:
Try a Sea Buckthorn Oil supplement
For dry ears, a really good supplement is sea buckthorn oil. So especially, if you've got a dry mouth, maybe a dry nose, so this whole area, and a dry throat, this whole area may be affected. We've got a lovely supplement called Sea Buckthorn Oil which can help with all sorts of dryness in menopause.
Check your diet
Look at your diet as well because you may find that, as I mentioned above, high salt, high sugar foods, too much caffeine and alcohol can all affect the ears, so try and keep those to a minimum. Maybe do a food diary. So, if your ear issues just appear suddenly at certain times of the day, it may be associated with what you're eating or drinking.
A nice balanced diet, including fish if you're not vegetarian or vegan and loads of veg, will give you all the nutrients that your ears need to function properly.
Drink plenty of water
Dehydration could be a factor. It could be something as simple as not drinking enough water, so check your water intake as well, and increase it if needed.
I hope you found this one helpful. It does seem to be a menopause symptom that's becoming more and more common. So, if any of you have had any issues with the ears, what you've done to help yourself, please do share them.
Key points to take away from this blog:
- Ear problems are an issue that seems to be more and more common during menopause
- Falling oestrogen can cause the mucus membranes within the inner ear to dry out which can result in several ear issues
- A few ear problems which women can face at this time include ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, earache, blocked ears, hot ears and itchy ears
Until next week, take care.