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5 Causes of an Itchy Ear

Having a hard-to-reach itch can be frustrating, especially when it’s in a sensitive area like your ear canal. Having an itchy ear may be caused by a number of factors. The good news is that most cases can be treated with simple at-home remedies. By recognizing the top causes of an itchy ear, you can hopefully find the right treatment.

1. Ear Wax

Ear wax, also known as cerumen, is a natural substance produced by glands in the ear canal. Its primary purpose is to protect the ear from water and debris. While a certain amount of ear wax is necessary, too much can lead to a blockage.

This build-up can cause symptoms like an itchy feeling, fullness, or pressure in the ear. One way to help stop the itching is by irrigating the ear canal with over-the-counter solutions or using a syringe to remove excess wax. A damp cloth may also be used to remove any visible wax on the outside of the ear.

Remember never to put objects such as cotton swabs or bobby pins in your ear canal, as this can damage your eardrum and cause further irritation.

2. Otitis Externa

Also known as swimmer’s ear, otitis externa is an infection of the outer ear and ear canal. Otitis externa is caused by excessive moisture in the ear canal, which can be a result of swimming, sweating, or not drying the ears properly after showering.

A waterlogged ear provides the perfect environment for bacteria or fungi to grow. Excess moisture in the ear may lead to swimmer’s ear and cause an itchy feeling. Cleaning the ear, keeping it dry, and using over-the-counter drops may help clear the infection and stop the itching. However, if the infection does not improve or if you have severe pain, see an ear specialist. 

Avoiding Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear is a common ear infection, especially among young children. Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent the condition from happening in the first place.

Using earplugs or a swimming cap while swimming can aid in the prevention of moisture entering the ear canal. Drying your ears thoroughly after swimming or showering can help you avoid swimmer’s ear. To dry your ears, use a soft towel or cloth. You may also use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to help remove any excess moisture from your ear canal.

3. Skin Conditions

Those with skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, or psoriasis may be more prone to experiencing itchy ears. Skin conditions can cause the skin in and around the ear to become dry, cracked, or inflamed.

Using a moisturizer, lotions, or creams may help soothe dry skin and stop the itching. Avoid scratching the affected area, as this could further irritate the skin.

4. Hearing Aids

Your hearing aids can be a potential source of irritation and itching. This is often caused by ear wax or moisture build-up on the hearing aids over time. Furthermore, some people may be allergic to the materials used in hearing aids, such as latex.

If you are experiencing itching due to your hearing aids, try cleaning them with a soft cloth. You may also need to replace the earmold or tubing. If problems persist, consult your audiologist.

5. Sinus Infections

Sinus infections such as hay fever, sinusitis, or allergies can also cause itchy ears. In addition, pollen, dust, pet dander, and other irritants can cause the sinuses to become inflamed.

Inflamed sinuses may lead to a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ears along with itching. Decongestants, antihistamines, and nasal sprays may help clear the sinuses and prevent itching.

Contact The Ear and Sinus Institute

If you are experiencing sinus issues or have itchy ears and cannot seem to find relief, contact the Ear and Sinus Institute. Our specialists can help you identify the cause of your symptoms and provide you with the best treatment options available. Make an appointment at the Ear and Sinus Institute today and be on your way to relief.

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Call Us to Schedule an Appointment: (817) 332-4060
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