An itchy ear is uncomfortable. This sensation can be caused by a number of factors, some of which are easily treatable at home while others require medical attention. Understanding the top five reasons why your ear may be itchy can help prompt you to seek help when needed.
Eczema, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can cause the skin inside your ear to become dry. If your skin feels dry, try adding some moisture with a drop or two of baby oil or olive oil. This at-home remedy is only appropriate for those who have not had ear surgery that involved an issue with their eardrum.
If you continue to experience a dry ear, your doctor may prescribe a course of topical steroids.
This ear infection occurs when water containing germs or bacteria becomes trapped inside your ear. While more common in children, people of all ages can develop this type of ear infection. In addition to an itchy ear, otitis externa can cause:
- Flakey skin
- Ear drainage
Antibiotic drops are the most common treatment for swimmer’s ear.
In order to prevent this type of infection, you should keep your ears dry. If you do go swimming, wear earplugs that block water from getting in the ear. You may also dry your ears with a hairdryer set to a low setting. Never swim in Boise Cascade Lake when there is a warning about high bacteria counts.
Cerumen, known more commonly as earwax, is produced to help clean and protect your ears. If you produce too much earwax or if your earwax becomes impacted, which can occur if you try to clean your ears with a cotton swab, you may experience:
- Hearing loss
- Plugged up feeling in the ears
Home remedies can be useful, as long as you have not had a previous issue with your eardrum. Placing a few drops of oil in the ear can help soften the wax so it falls out on its own. Hydrogen peroxide or a commercial ear drop designed to dissolve wax may also work.
If these home remedies do not work and you are still experiencing issues, you should make an appointment with your doctor to remove the buildup of earwax through irrigation with a syringe.
If you wear hearing aids and experience an itchy ear, you may be allergic to the plastic your devices are made of or the polish that coats the surface of the mold. Your audiologist can easily replace the earmold with one made of a different material.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
Feeling itchy deep inside your ear every time you swallow is linked to an issue with your Eustachian tubes. Usually caused by a virus, this sensation is often linked to a sore throat.
To learn more about how to treat an itchy ear or to schedule an appointment with an expert, contact SW Idaho ENT.