Itchy ears: find out causes and treatment

Last update on Jun, 18, 2021

Itchy ears are a sensation of tickling and / or irritation accompanied by an urgent need to scratch the affected area. This area is often characterized by the presence of redness, when the cause of itchy ears is an inflammation, or desquamation, if its causes are due to an eczema. In any case, it is advisable to avoid scratching the itchy area by letting it heal spontaneously or by contacting your doctor for further tests.

What does itchy ear mean?

Constant itching in the ear is not normal. Healthy ears very rarely itch. That means: If you have itchy ears all the time, you should get to the bottom of the cause.
First of all, it must be clarified where the ear itches:

1. The ear itches inside, it feels like an itchy inner ear
2. It itches inside, but not very deep, rather it is an itchy ear canal.
3. The ears itch on the outside, so it can be an itchy auricle.

Causes of itchy ears

Itchy ears can often be a symptom of an ear infection. Among the most common there is certainly the external otitis, known to sportsmen as the swimmer's ear, which manifests itself following the accumulation of water in the ear canal after swimming. Chickenpox, ringworm and strep throat pain are among other possible infections. Sometimes, at the origin of itchy ears there are insect bites, food allergies, usually accompanied by breathing difficulties, swelling and possible fainting, and ear trauma. Even the use of cosmetics and detergents, as well as contact with particular metals such as those used in jewelry, can lead to an itchy ear.

Why is my ear itchy? Other causes

Inside of the ear feels itchy

The cause of itchy ears very deep in the ear, i.e. the feeling that the inner ear itches, is usually related to an irritation of the mucous membrane in the throat. It feels like the ears itch. The common cold, whether noticeable or not, does not affect the inner ear, but the pharynx around the tonsils. Nevertheless, the impression arises that the ears itch with a cold.
Especially in children, but also in sensitive adults, the first signs of an otitis media can also be perceived as an itchy ear. So if the child asks: “Why is my ear itchy?” and describes that the ears itch from the inside, this can be a valuable clue. Because once these first warning signs are known, painful otitis media can often be prevented with rest, nasal spray and home remedies.

Itchy ear canals

If the ear is itchy and the itchiness is in the front of the ear, ear canal inflammation is a particularly common cause. Inflammation of the ear canal (otitis externa) only affects the part of the ear in front of the eardrum. Bacteria are to blame for the infection. If these have attacked the skin, fungi can also spread.

Allergy

An inflammation of the ear canal can also result from an allergic reaction of the skin in the ear: Shampoos, hairsprays, but also antibiotic ear drops can be to blame. Do you observe itchy ears with hay fever? Then the allergy is likely to be the reason. But if your itchy, oozing ears are accompanied by hearing loss, pain and possibly even fever, you should see a doctor.

Itchy outer ear and auricle

Some people scratch their ears a lot. Often this is a habit that is not about itchy ears at all.  But if it itches in the outer ear and around the ear, skin diseases such as psoriasis, neurodermatitis or skin fungus can also be present. Such skin diseases are more common around the scalp. It is possible that the skin is only attacked by too much hygiene: if you constantly use care products to clean your face, you can destroy the healthy protective layer of the skin. The result: itching.

Itchy ear treatment

The most common remedies that can be applied against itchy ears vary according to the causes. In general, for the different types of itching it is possible to apply capsaicin-based creams, a substance capable of numbing the nerve endings, or moisturizing creams, especially those based on starch glycerol. In the event of an allergic reaction, it is advisable to contact a doctor, who, after careful analysis, will prescribe the most suitable antihistamine drug. Nature also offers valid remedies to relieve itchy ears. Some olive oil or aloe vera ear drops for itchy ears, applied through a special dropper, will restore the natural pH of the ear, giving a pleasant sensation of relaxation.

Actions to avoid in case of itchy ears

Very important: however agonizing the itching in the ears may be, you should never enter your ears with sharp objects. Eardrum can be injured and the skin in the ear canal can be easily scratched. Since an infection by bacteria is often the reason for the itchy ears, the germs then have an even easier time penetrating the skin. Cotton swabs should also be avoided. With them you unintentionally push the ear wax deeper into your ear. This can result in unpleasant and sometimes painful plugs.

Home remedies for itchy ears

As mentioned above, too much hygiene and improper ear care can make ears itch. The home remedy in this case is proper and not excessive cleaning of the ears. Is the itching in the ear felt in the ear canal? The home remedy then can be to place a cotton swab soaked with alcohol in the auricle. A cool pack wrapped in a cloth can also be placed on the ear.
If the skin on and around the ear seems dry, rubbing it with olive or almond oil will help.

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