Itchy ears causes, symptoms, and treatment

By: Devon Andre | Hearing Health | Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 04:00 PM

itchy earsItchy ears can be annoying, as they’re not as easy to scratch. Although you may want to scratch your ears to obtain some relief, this is not advised actually, as it can lead to further complications like infection, redness, and swelling. The best thing you can do is find out what is causing the itchiness and treat it properly to avoid further damage.

What causes itchy ears?

Insufficient wax: Although too much wax can leave your ears feeling clogged, insufficient wax can cause itchiness. You may also notice skin flakes coming from the ears and dryness.

Ear canal dermatitis: This is the inflammation of the skin in and around the ears, often brought on by an allergic reaction. Beauty products or reactions to certain metals can trigger ear canal dermatitis.

Otitis media (ear infection): Along with itchiness of the ears, an ear infection can also cause pain. Ear infections are common among children and swimmers. Other common symptoms are swelling and redness.

Hearing aid use: If you wear a hearing aid, trapped water in the ears can lead to itchiness. Some people may be allergic to the hearing aid itself.

Psoriasis: Although this skin condition is often found on visible areas of the body, it may also occur behind or inside the ear, leading to itchiness.

Allergies: Asthma and other allergy issues can lead to itchiness in the ears. It can be an allergic reaction to a product like shampoo that has gone into the ears or even an allergy to pollen. Controlling your allergies can help relieve itchy ears.

Excessive moisture: Being constantly exposed to excessive moisture can increase the risk of ear infections, which can cause itchy ears.

Other causes of ear itchiness include stress, medication side effects, and extreme heat or cold. In rare cases, severe itchiness could signal a life-threatening condition, such as anaphylactic shock.

Ear itching and accompanying symptoms

natural home remedies for tinnitusAside from itchiness in the ears, you may experience crusting or flaky skin, drainage or discharge from the ear, rash, redness, warmth, swelling, and tenderness or pain.

Itchy ears may be accompanied by other symptoms like coughing, fever or chills, headache, joint stiffness, rash, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, or sweating.

The following accompanying symptoms signal a more serious condition that requires immediate attention.

  • Changes in consciousness or alertness
  • Respiratory or breathing problems
  • Sudden swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Tightness or constriction of the throat

Treatment and prevention of ear itching

Here are some treatment options you can try in order to relieve itchy ears.

  • Use warm oil in the ear
  • Mix rubbing alcohol and water and put drops of the mix in your ears
  • Remove excess wax
  • Avoid moisture
  • Use peroxide for wax removal
  • Avoid allergens
  • Take painkillers
  • Treat ear infections as per your doctor’s directions
  • Avoid swimming until the ear infection is completely treated

Preventative measures for itchy ears include:

  • Prevent excess liquid from entering the ears
  • Wear a swimming headband
  • Use olive oil regularly in the ears
  • Avoid poking your ears with cotton swabs
  • Be careful with hearing aids and ear plugs
  • Be aware of your allergies

You don’t have to live with the annoyance of itchy ears as long you take preventative steps and exercise proper ear care.

When to call a doctor for itchy ears

You should call a doctor for itchy ears if you suspect you have an ear infection, which would be signaled by itchiness accompanied by intense pain. Experiencing any breathing difficulties, swelling of the face, or loss of consciousness should also prompt you to see the doctor immediately.

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