Itchy Ears: Causes and Possible Solutions

September 26th, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 11.40.05 AMGot an itchy ear? It may be more than someone dropping some gossip behind your back, as the old wives tale goes. There are several reasons the ear canal (the tube that connect your outer ear to your eardrum) can become irritated or itchy. How to get relief depends on what’s making you scratch.

But be warned … no matter the cause, it’s never a good idea to stick an object in your ear. You could damage your inner ear, including the tiny bones that help you to hear.

Itchy ears might be caused by an earwax buildup. Even though wax is a natural way for your body to clean dead skin cells and dirt out of your ears, too much can make them itch. But don’t use a cotton swab to remove the wax, as it can act as a plunger, pushing the wax deeper inside where it can get stuck. Try instead over-the-counter ear drops to break up the wax. If that doesn’t help, make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors. They can use a special tool to safely remove built-up wax.

On the flip side, ears can also get itchy if they don’t have enough wax inside, so don’t clean out your ears too often!

Itchy ears can sometimes be a sign of an ear infection. When you have a cold, the flu, or allergies, the bacteria and viruses in your body can also infect your ear. But infections can also happen when you aren’t even sick. Swimmer’s ear occurs when water stays in your ear after spending time swimming. Too much moisture wears away the natural layer of defense against germs in your ear canal. To stop the itch, you’ll need to treat the infection. Some may go away on their own, but our doctors can also prescribe ear drops. You may need to take them a few times a day for a week. Other infections may need a course of antibiotics.

The skin in your ears is much like the skin on the rest of your body. Itchiness may be caused by eczema or psoriasis, as it affects the rest of your body. The skin inside your ears could be itching because of an allergic reaction. Products like hair spray or shampoo could cause a reaction to sensitive skin. Objects that contains certain metals (nickel), like earrings can cause irritation as well. Plastic, rubber, or metal objects your use near or inside your ears, such as earbuds or a hearing aids, can also cause a rash called contact dermatitis.

If you have a concern about itching in your ears, feel free to make an appointment to discuss the best way to resolve this irritating condition.