5 common causes of itchy ears


Itchy ears can be due to a number of reasons, some of which are easy to treat, while others may require the help of a doctor. These are some of the most common causes of itchy ears.

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Swimmer's ear

Swimmer's ear , also called external otitis, is an infection of the outer ear. Swimmer's ear occurs when bacteria or other microbes can grow trapped in the water inside the ear. Swimmer's ear is especially common in children, but it also occurs in adults. In addition to itchy ears, symptoms include:

  • Redness of the ears
  • Scaly skin
  • Drainage from the ear (may be pus)
  • Pain when moving the head or touching the ear
  • Hot

Swimmer's ear is usually treated with antibiotic ear drops. The best way to protect a swimmer's ears is to keep them dry. To do this, you can wear earplugs while swimming or swimming, or gently dry your ears after bathing or swimming.

Otitis externa is believed to affect 10% of people at some point in their lives. Although the milder forms are usually short-lived, a significant number of cases can persist for weeks or even months despite intensive treatment.

Topical aluminum acetate, topical antibacterial agents, and topical corticosteroids are considered viable and effective treatment options for external otitis .

Skin problems

Skin problems can affect your ear canal and cause symptoms like dryness, eczema, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis. Dry skin inside the ears can be treated by dripping a couple of drops of olive or baby oil into the ear every day (do not do this if you have had ear surgery that affected the integrity of your eardrum).

The choice of local therapy depends on the state of the tympanic membrane. This may include washing the ear canal with a 9: 1 solution of rubbing alcohol and vinegar three times a day for 10 days. For yeast infections, a 10-day course of a topical antifungal agent, such as clotrimazole, applied three times a day can help .

Allergic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can be treated with a short course of topical steroids.


People who wear hearing aids may experience itchy ears if they are allergic to the plastic used in their hearing aids. In this case, the hearing aid must be replaced with a different type of earmold.

An allergic reaction to the polish on the surface of the earmold is also possible. In this case, you can try to remove the varnish by cleaning the hearing aid, rubbing it with alcohol before putting it in your ear.

Depending on the shape of the person's ear and the type of hearing aid, itching can also occur when the hearing aid puts pressure on the delicate tissue of the ear. Your healthcare provider can diagnose this problem with an otoscope.

Ear wax

Excessive amounts of earwax can cause itchy ears. In most cases, the ears are "self-cleaning," but some people tend to produce excessive amounts of earwax or are unable to remove earwax from their ears on their own. Other symptoms of excess earwax include:

If you haven't had surgery that affects the integrity of your eardrum (such as a myringotomy or placement of ventilation tubes ), you can try one of the following home remedies to help remove excess earwax:

  • Put a few drops of oil (mineral oil or baby oil) in each ear to soften the wax so you can clean it yourself.
  • Put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear.
  • Use commercially available ear drops to dissolve the wax.

If you're not sure if your eardrum is intact or if one of the home remedies above doesn't work, your healthcare professional can remove the ear wax. This is usually done in your office by irrigation with a syringe or by hand using special tools to remove wax.

It is not recommended to remove earwax yourself. Among users of cotton swabs, 2% to 5% may suffer injuries, including bruising and bleeding in the ear canal .

Eustachian tubes

It should also be noted that some people may experience a deep itching sensation in the ear when swallowing. The auditory tube (also called the Eustachian tube ) opens each time you swallow.

Itching usually only occurs when you have another medical condition that is causing your sore throat , such as the common cold virus. This is not particularly worrisome and usually clears up when the condition causing the sore throat clears.

Less commonly, itching can be an early sign of acute otitis media (otitis media) with effusion (fluid buildup). The itching can also be accompanied by a feeling of congestion in the ear, followed by the rapid onset of pain and / or dizziness. In such cases, oral antibiotics are usually required .

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