Itchy ears: causes and treatment

Sep, 02, 2021

Why do I have itchy ears?

One of the most uncomfortable sensations to experience, itching within our ears can not only be distracting and annoying, but it may also be a sign that you’re experiencing issues with your ear health.

Causes of itchy ears

Itching within the ear can occur for many different reasons. Some of the most common causes of itchy ears include:

  • Skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema and contact dermatitis
  • Ear infections
  • Allergies, including food and seasonal allergies
  • A buildup of ear wax
  • Irritation from hearing aids, caused by components rubbing against the skin

Symptoms of itchy ears

The primary symptom of itchy ears is an irritating sensation in the outer or ear canal. In addition to itching, the condition may also be accompanied by:

  • Swelling
  • Drainage of fluid from within the ear
  • A fever

Actions to avoid in case of itchy ears

No matter how irritating itchy ears can be you should never put sharp objects inside your ears. Cotton buds or anything similar should not be used as this can push ear wax deeper into the ear. Other objects can scratch or irritate the skin inside your ear canal, which can make itchy ears even worse. 

Remedies & home treatment for itchy ears

As the causes of itchy ears vary, so too do the treatments available. For itching caused by an ear infection, it should subside once the infection has been treated and clears. Those with a skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis should consult their doctor for an appropriate treatment plan. If you have food or seasonal allergies that trigger uncomfortable ear itching, taking your regular antihistamine should help to calm any discomfort.

To prevent irritation from hearing aids, ensure that your hearing aids are properly fitted. If you find yourself experiencing discomfort while wearing your hearing aids, book an appointment with your audiologist to have adjustments made to your devices. Itching caused by a buildup of ear wax can also be treated by your audiologist or ear nurse through ear wax removal.

As the causes of itchy ears vary, so too do the treatments available.

If you’re unsure of what has caused the itching sensation, some over-the-counter ear drops may help to soothe itching, while a warm shower may also provide relief by dilating blood vessels and improving circulation.

If you cannot stop the itching within your ears, you should visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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Preventing itchy ears

Although itching within the ears can’t always be prevented, you may be able to reduce the chances of it occurring by ensuring you practice good ear hygiene. Gently clean your outer ear with warm water, using a soft washcloth to help wipe away any debris or excess ear wax. You shouldn’t attempt to remove wax from within the ear using foreign objects, as it may become impacted, causing more issues.

When swimming and bathing, you should also try to prevent excess water from entering your ears. You might choose to wear a swimming cap, use earplugs for swimming or keep your head above the surface when swimming, or wear a shower cap when in the shower.


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