What It Means When Your Ears Are Burning (Spiritually & Physically)

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woman's ear
Self

You’ve probably heard the saying that when your ears are burning, it means someone is talking about you.

The idiom dates all the way back to first-century Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder’s 37-volume encyclopedia “Naturalis Historia,” which mentions that it is “universally received that absent persons have warning that others are speaking of them, by the tingling of the ears.”

Of course, sometimes there are some reasonable physical explanations for why ears burn. But when it seems the symptom just cannot be explained, there are spiritual meanings behind burning ears that you can turn to.

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Some physical causes of burning ears include:

1. An overactive brain.

If you’re an over-thinker, you may notice that your ears tend to burn. There’s a reason for this! It’s actually been scientifically proven that high levels of brain activity increase blood flow to the carotid artery, which is located on the side of the neck and causes your ear to burn.

Here’s a fun hint: whichever ear is burning will give away which side of your brain you’re using more!

2. Sunburn.

If it’s your outer ear that’s burning, take a look in the mirror to see if it’s red. The skin that covers your ears can burn just like the skin anywhere else on your body.

If the sunburn is accompanied by a fever, weakness or faintness, or low blood pressure, see a doctor immediately.

3. An ear infection.

Ear infections can cause ringing or burning ears. Caused by a virus or bacteria in the middle ear, symptoms of ear infections can vary but often include ear pain, a feeling of fullness in the ear, and drainage from the ear canal along with a burning sensation in your ear.

4. Emotions.

Sometimes, strong emotions like embarrassment and anger can cause your ears to burn. Called cutaneous flushing, this reaction is caused by increased blood flow to the blood vessels.

If this is the case, your burning ears will probably be accompanied by flushed cheeks and a rise in your body temperature.

5. Temperature.

Just as a rise in body temperature can cause your blood vessels to enlarge, exposure to cold temperatures can cause blood vessels to constrict.

Your ears are full of nerve endings, so “very cold air can be super irritating to them,” Jason Abramowitz, MD, at New York and New Jersey's ENT and Allergy Associates, explains to Well+Good. This includes your eardrums, which can lead to burning both inside and outside of the ears.

6. Red ear syndrome.

An extremely rare disorder, red ear syndrome (RES) causes a burning sensation and redness of the outer ear that lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours.

If you have recurring and unexplained burning in your ears, be sure to contact your doctor.

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There are also spiritual meanings behind burning ears.

1. Someone is talking about you.

This superstition has been passed down for ages. According to the prevailing belief, if your right ear is burning it means someone is talking good about you. On the other hand, if there’s a burning sensation in your left ear, it means someone is speaking ill of or gossiping about you.

Some people also believe that if your right ear is burning it means a woman is speaking highly of you while if it’s your left ear burning it’s a man that’s speaking highly of you.

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2. Good luck is on the way.

One superstitious belief about burning ears is that if your left ear burns at night, it brings good fortune in the coming days.

3. Your spirit guides are sending you a message.

Spirit guides send spiritual messages in various ways, such as through vivid dreams and heightened senses. If your ears are burning, it may be your spirit guides trying to make you aware that a message is on its way.

4. News is on the way.

One superstition goes that a burning right ear is a sign that good news is coming. However, if it’s your left ear hot, prepare yourself to receive bad news.

5. A right ear burning is a sign of love.

Some people believe that when your right ear starts burning, it means someone you love is close by.

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Micki Spollen is an editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.

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