Warning Signs From Your Ears That You Should Never, Ever Ignore

I think all of us do our best to take care of our health, especially when it comes to screening for major medical issues.

But sometimes we focus so much on the big stuff that we aren’t so good about taking care of the little problems that affect our day-to-day health and quality of life.

You might be really good about keeping an eye out for lung-cancer signs, but then totally neglect your body when you have a more minor bug or sore spot.

Take, for example, ear pain. We all get it from time to time, but most of us aren’t good about following up on it. Unfortunately, if you aren’t careful, ear pain can turn into a much bigger problem : a ruptured eardrum.

Over 200,000 people rupture an eardrum every year in the U.S., and plenty of them don’t even realize it at first — which can lead to lots of complications, including deafness.

Protect your hearing and learn the symptoms and causes by scrolling through below.

Sign #1: Ringing In Your Ears

Sign #1: Ringing In Your Ears

Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Ringing in your ears, which is also called tinnitus, is one of the most common ear symptoms people have.

There are a dozen different causes for ringing ears, but what you really need to watch out for is ringing that doesn’t stop.

If you get a bit of ringing and it goes away, that’s probably nothing to worry about — though if it persists and just won’t subside, you may have a ruptured eardrum, which needs to get checked out.

Sign #2: Sharp Pain

Sign #2: Sharp Pain

Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

A sudden sharp pain anywhere in your body is usually a sign that something isn’t quite right.

If you feel a sudden stabbing pain in your ear (deep inside, not on the outer edges), then you may have something brewing under the surface.

When an eardrum pops, many people don’t feel it immediately, while others may experience an instant, stabbing pain.

Sign #3: Drainage Or Discharge

Sign #3: Drainage Or Discharge

Tayra Lucero for LittleThings

Ears, on a whole, tend to be a lot drier than our other orifices.

For the most part, the only substance that comes out of ears is wax, the dense buildup of lubricating cells that protect the ear canal.

However, there’s fluid deeper in the ear, which may build up during an infection and leak out if it’s somehow released — as in the case of a ruptured eardrum.