Ear Health during the Menopausal Transition

ear Feb 09, 2024

Some women experience altered sensations in their ears, ringing in their ears, hearing loss, and other ear-related issues such as dizziness with the menopausal transition.


You may not be aware that you have estrogen receptors in your inner ears. Wherever estrogen receptors are located you may experience a change in function as this hormone fluctuates.


The reason I’m talking about this today is because I’m one of these women. I’ve recently been diagnosed with adult-onset eustachian tube defect and due to this, I’ve been experiencing the sensation of fullness and pressure within the ear and hearing difficulties in my left ear. Although it's not painful it's uncomfortable and extremely frustrating. In case you don’t know the Eustachian tube links the back of the throat to your middle ear. So I started researching and I discovered the link between this developing now and the menopausal transition. Please know menopause isn’t the only reason why it can develop at this stage of life. Anything that inflames or irritates the eustachian tube can be linked, to things like sinus infections, oral infections (think teeth and gums), allergies, pollution, cigarette smoke, TMJ dysfunction, or the presence of nasal polyps. That being said please see your primary care doctor or an ENT specialist to help determine your cause, if you also have this.


In regards to your ear health, there are a few common issues that can occur at this stage of life

  1. Dry ears - dryness is a common occurrence with the menopausal transition. Many women notice that certain areas of their body becoming drier such as their skin, hair, nails, eyes, mouth, and you can add the nasal cavity and ears to the list as well.
  2. Ear itch - having dry ears can produce the frustrating sensation of itch. No matter how intense this sensation gets please don’t insert anything into your ear to scratch.
  3. Changes in hearing. This is where it gets interesting. Some women will experience sensitivity to sounds and find the world too noisy, while other women will notice a reduction in hearing, especially high-pitched sounds like children’s voices.
  4. Ear fullness or pressure. Eustachian tube defects come in here. The eustachian tube has 3 main tasks, middle ear protection from infections, middle ear ventilation, and middle ear drainage. In my case, I have a buildup of fluid that is trapped and I can’t unblock or pop my ear so the air pressure builds up producing the sensation of fullness. Peri-menopause is also a time of increased allergies due to the estrogen/histamine link and allergies certainly can cause eustachian tube issues.
  5. Tinnitus has been described as a sensation of buzzing or ringing in your ear. But it could also be a hissing, humming, roaring, or a kind of mechanical noise. It can occur for many reasons such as exposure to loud noise, head injury, jaw misalignment, and many more but one possibly I want to bring to your attention is hormone therapy.  Research has linked HRT use with various hearing issues including tinnitus. This is not a reason to stop your medication but it's a link I wanted to bring to your attention because if you started experiencing tinnitus or any other hearing-related issues after you started taking HRT please go back and discuss this with your prescribing doctor.
  6. Dizziness - falling estrogen levels can cause the mucous membranes within the inner ear to dry out.  Inner ear disturbances can be linked to feeling dizzy or triggering vertigo. Meniere’s disease is an extreme example of this, where the woman may be temporarily bed-bound from the intensity of the dizziness.


Please don’t despair there are things you can do to help improve your situation. As a common theme at menopause is dryness, a systemic dryness that also affects your ears, so I would start by looking at systemic factors that could benefit your entire body, not just your ears. And this starts with hydration! Are you drinking enough water? Could you benefit by taking an electrolyte product? Are you consuming enough beneficial oils? All of your omega oils are important here but Omega 7 shines the brightest. Omega 7 is found in Sea buckthorn, Salmon, Anchovies, Macadamia nuts, olives and you can find smaller amounts in avocado too.


Moisturising ear oils also exist but don’t consider this route if you have a ruptured ear drum. The best ones are infused with herbal medicine. Olive oil with added vitamin E is most often used as a base with some common herbs infused into this. The most popular choices contain herbs like  Goldenseal, mullein, and garlic.

  • Goldenseal is a very soothing, cooling, hydrating, and healing herb with the added benefits of being anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
  • Mullein helps to resolve swelling, relieve earaches, and treat minor ear infections. It is also anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
  • Garlic is a stronger anti-microbial and can help ease ear pain due to swelling and infections.
  • Other commonly used herbs in ear oils include calendula, yarrow, and marshmallow.


Don’t forget your sinuses. Having a blocked sinus can cause a build-up of fluid in your ear. Try daily nasal rinses or nasal sprays if your sinuses are impacting your ears. You will also need to address any dietary or environmental allergens.


Sore throats also need addressing and throat infections avoided. Many women find gargling with salty water affected.


See your dentist to rule out teeth and gum issues, the salt water gland mentioned above may help but oil pulling is a step up. Place a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, Coconut is the most frequently used oil but you can also use sesame oil. Pull the oil through your teeth and swish it around your mouth for about 10 minutes. When you are finished spit it into an old tin or jar. Do not spit it down the sink. (Remember coconut oil is solid at room temperature and you don't want to block your drain) Then clean your teeth as normal afterward. Teeth cleaning should include flossing, brushing, and tongue scrapping at a minimum.


The things that has brought me the most instant relief is chiropractic treatment. If relevant for you, your chiro can do a eustachian tube release which for me instantly unblocks my ear and provides relief from the internal pressure built up. Ok, it might not be the most pleasant adjustment but the relief it provides me is well worth it. While at the Chiro’s get them to check your jaw alignment as TMJ dysfunction is a significant contributor to ear issues.


Any underlying chronic health complaint you have that is not well managed can produce inflammation that may affect your ears.  The main conditions linked here include anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraines, diabetes, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, and autoimmune conditions. Reach out if you need a hand settling these down.


I’m now around the 2-3 month mark since my ear started to play up. These days it is intermitted and milder than before but not gone altogether. I’m sticking to my plan and seeing positive results. If your ears are frustrating you, don’t live with it. You don’t want to risk long-term hearing implications. I’ve given you some suggestions for where to get started and I’m more than happy to chat with you directly if you book a discovery call.











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