What You Can Do To Deal With Itchy Ears
The sensation of itchiness within the ear canal can be a cause of considerable distress and frustration. However, treatment is dependent on the underlying cause. There are various reasons for experiencing itchy ears, so different approaches must be employed to find the appropriate relief. Unfortunately, the inability to physically alleviate the itch can make this ailment distracting and bothersome.
What are the Most Common Causes of Itchy Ears?
Inflammation of the ear canal, commonly called an ear infection, can result in symptoms like pruritus and pain. Either viral or bacterial agents can cause this condition. Individuals who engage in frequent swimming activities are at an inflated risk of developing a distinct ear condition known as swimmer’s ear, which affects the ear canal.
Excessive Earwax Buildup
Earwax is a natural secretion that the human body produces to protect and clean the ear canals. However, if an over-production of earwax occurs and cotton swabs are used to clean the ears, earwax may be pushed too far into the ear canal. This accumulation of earwax can result in itching. If you experience a buildup of earwax, we recommend to consult an audiologist or an ENT specialist for safe removal.
Insufficient production of earwax can result in excessive dryness of the ears. Earwax serves the function of lubricating the ear canal. Hence, inadequate secretion or removal of earwax using cotton swabs may lead to dryness and itchiness in the ears. If you suspect this to be the cause of your itchy ears, we recommend you consult a primary care physician, an otolaryngologist, or a dermatologist for further evaluation and advice.
Allergic reactions are a common culprit in pruritus auris, or itching in the ears. In particular, individuals suffering from outdoor allergies may experience this symptom in high-pollen environments. Additionally, food allergies may induce itching in the ears, which is often an early warning sign for those with food allergies that they have been exposed to an allergen. It is essential to recognize that itchy ears may manifest an underlying allergy and seek prompt medical evaluation.
Dermatitis in the Ear Canal
Ear canal dermatitis, characterized by pruritis and inflammation of the ear canal, may be attributed to allergens such as metal in earrings or an ingredient in a lotion or other product applied on or near the ears. Concomitantly, eczematoid dermatitis may also manifest, causing pruritis within the ears. A proper diagnosis of dermatitis typically necessitates the intervention of a primary care physician or a dermatologist.
We recommend that individuals experiencing persistent ear itching seek medical attention from a skilled healthcare specialist. A physician can diagnose whether the cause is an infection or allergy and may refer the patient to an otolaryngologist or dermatologist for further evaluation. While over-the-counter ear drops can provide relief, it is vital to avoid their use if a perforated eardrum is present. In cases where earwax buildup is the cause of the itching, hearing care professionals can facilitate its removal.