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What causes itchy ears and how to find relief?

What causes itchy ears and how to find relief?

Posted on 2017-07-01

Itchy ears can stem from a number of situations:

Dry skin

If your ears don’t produce enough wax, your ear skin can become dry and itchy.  You may even notice flaking skin coming from the ear.

Ear canal dermatitis

This is when the skin in and around the ear canal becomes inflamed.  Allergic reaction to products in or near your ear can be a cause of this itching. Another type of dermatitis in the ear is called aural eczematoid dermatitis, which has unknown causes.

Otitis externa (outer ear infection)

Otitis externa, or infection of the outer ear canal, can cause ear pain as well as itching. This is also known as swimmer's ear, caused by inflammation due  to infection and can lead to redness and swelling.

Hearing aid use

Hearing aids can cause water to become trapped in the ears, or trigger an allergic reaction to the hearing aid itself. Ill-fitting hearing aids can also place pressure on certain areas of the ear, leading to itching. A good reason to start your entire hearing procedure with Shea Clinic experts.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes a person to develop a red rash. Psoriasis can occur on visible parts of the body, such as arms or inside the ears.

When to seek medical help

Make an appointment to see your doctor if your itchy ear symptoms don’t improve with time or home care.  Seek immediate help if there is bleeding, or excess drainage. Your doctor will likely examine your ears and take a medical history to help identify potential causes.

How are itchy ears treated?

Itchy ears are typically due to a breakdown in ear skin health. Treatment usually seeks to fix these breakdowns. Common causes include:

  • earwax lubrication
  • excess water in the ear
  • foreign particles and debris in the ear

If your itchy ears are the result of an allergic reaction, refrain from using any products that could have potentially caused the irritation. These include new earrings and personal care products.

Always consult your physician before putting ointments or drops in or on your ear. This ensures you are not putting anything irritating in the ear. Also, if you have a damaged eardrum, you should not use any ointments or drops unless your physician specifically prescribes them.

Your physician may recommend or prescribe the following:

  • baby oil to soften the skin
  • steroid topical ointment that relieves inflammation, such as 1 percent hydrocortisone cream or 0.1-percent
  • swimmer’s ear eardrops, or a diluted solution of rubbing alcohol, acetic acid, or hydrogen peroxide

Consider scheduling regular appointments with your doctor to clean your ears. This can minimize trauma to the area while helping you remove excess earwax.

How can I prevent itchy ears?

To prevent irritation, avoid cleaning your ears with objects such as cotton balls or cotton swabs

Other ways to avoid irritation in your ears include:

  • Use antiallergic jewelry, which can prevent allergic reactions that lead to itching.
  • If you swim frequently, use a solution to dry up excess water in the ear canal.
  • If you experience excess earwax production, you may want to keep your earwax at a manageable level by using doctor-approved approaches, such as eardrops or a bulb syringe.

Have a question about testing for hearing loss and hearing aids? Call the Shea Clinic today to set up an appointment with our experts. Call now locally at 901-761-9720 or toll free at 800-477-SHEA.

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