In his famous Much ado About Nothing, the world renowned playwright, William Shakespeare, asks “What fire is in mine ears?” Today this old English phrase is translated to the modern idiom” My ears are burning!”

The saying was originated from the ancient Romans who believed that different feelings in the body were signs of current or future events. Interestingly, the ancient belief that the left signifies evil and the right signifies good, applies here also. If a person’s right ear burns, then he is believed to be receiving praise, but a burning left ear indicates that he is the subject of evil intent.

Today the expression usually connotes a certain level of discomfort with the idea that you are being talked about “behind your back.” In this sense “my ears are burning” is translated as “I’m embarrassed.”

The phrase can also be used with a neutral or even humorous tone, especially among friends, as in “You were all talking about me? No wonder my ears were burning!”

So now you know!

But listen up! If you or a loved one may be suffering from burning or itchy ears, don’t be embarrassed. Ear canal dermatitis occurs when the skin in and around the ear canal becomes inflamed. Otitis media (ear infection) can also cause ear pain as well as itching. Know that the Shea Ear Clinic is here for you and give us a call at (901) 761-9720. We’ll stop the burning and give you something to talk about!