Even though your ears are small as compared to your arms or legs, they are loaded with highly sensitive neurological fibers. It is usually the reason why you often have to deal with an itchy ear canal. Some people's ears are relatively more sensitive, so they may have to deal with chronic itching. However, your itchy ears may also highlight another underlying condition. It is therefore important to understand the causes of itchy ears to determine how to correct this condition.
What Causes Itchy Ear Canal?
If you have itchy ear canal, you will want to scratch it or you can feel annoyed. Before that, you should first identify what causes itchy ear canal
1. Insufficient Earwax
You may have to deal with itching if your ears don't produce enough earwax. This usually leads to dry ears and you may even notice flaking skin dropping out of your ears.
2. Ear Canal Dermatitis
The condition is the inflammation of the skin in and around your ear canal, and usually results from an allergic reaction. Most people face this situation when they use a beauty product that contains an ingredient they are allergic to; a reaction to the metals in earrings may also cause ear canal dermatitis.
3. Ear Infection
An ear infection or otitis media can cause severe pain and make your ears feel itchy. If you're a swimmer, you're more likely to experience this condition because the outer canal of your ear becomes infected, and the infection will causes swelling and redness.
4. The Use of Hearing Aid
Regular use of hearing aid will make water trapped in the ears. Sometimes, your ears will become allergic to the hearing aid itself – this is usually true with an ill-fitting hearing aid. All these issues will lead to itchy ears.
Psoriasis is a common skin problem that usually produces a red rash on your skin. Although psoriasis usually occurs on visible parts of your body, it may also appear behind or inside the ears, which can cause itching.
If you have asthma, allergic rhinitis, or other allergy issues, you are more likely to develop an ear infection such as otitis externa. It is usually caused by a reaction to a foreign body being exposed to your ear, such as earplugs, ear medication, sweat, or shampoo. Your doctor may have to use an ear wick or a sponge to treat the infection.
7. Excessive Moisture
If you're usually exposed to humid environments or swim in polluted water, you are more likely to develop an ear infection. Contaminated water can enter your ear canal and cause an infection. Sometimes, the excessive moisture will wash away earwax, leaving your ears dry and itchy. The itching will prompt scratching that will damage your skin and even infect your external canal as well.
8. Other Causes
Several other factors may also cause an itchy ear canal. This may include stress, medications, and extreme heat or cold. In rare cases, severe ear itching can be a symptom of a more serious and life-threatening condition, so it is important to set an appointment with your ENT specialist to rule out serious issues such as anaphylaxis.
How to Relieve Itchy Ear Canal
You can relieve the itchy ear canal with some simple and effective remedies. After identifying the cause, you can try some proper remedies from the below options.
1. Use Warm Oil
Instead of inserting anything in your ear to relieve itching, you will be better off using a few drops of warm oil. You can make homemade drops by using olive oil, mineral oil, or vegetable oil. You can warm the oil simply by placing the jar into a warm glass of water for half an hour or less. Test those drops first on the inside of your wrist to ensure the oil is not too hot to burn your skin.
2. Try the Mixture of Alcohol and Water
You can relieve your itchy ear canal by squirting water mixed with alcohol. You may use an ear syringe or bulb syringe for this purpose. It is a good remedy because it helps flush out debris and eliminate any bugs in your ears. Be sure to drain the water after a few minutes – you can use the syringe to withdraw the fluid.
3. Remove Wax
Although wax is for protection, too much wax may cause itching and pain as well. Don't insert anything in your ears to clear wax build-up. Simply lie on your side with your affected ear facing the roof. Now place hot washcloth or a warm water bottle over the ear. The heat will do the trick here and soften the wax. You may use cotton tipped swab to clear the softened wax.
4. Avoid Moisture
You need to keep your ears dry to alleviate itching. If you have to swim, you may consider wearing a swim cap. Use the same cap when taking showers. Using earplugs that usually have a coating of petroleum jelly is another good way of keeping your ears dry. You can sometimes use your hair dryer at a low temperature setting to keep your ears dry.
5. Use Peroxide to Remove Wax
You can consider using a peroxide rinse to loosen the earwax and eliminate itching. Simply pour some peroxide into the ear and let it stay there for a while. Now tilt your head to the other side to drain the solution.
6. More Tips to Soothe Itchy Ear Canal
- Always try to get rid of any debris by swabbing with cotton wool.
- Remove anything that causes an allergic reaction when touching your ear, such as earrings, earplugs, etc.
- Take painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve your ear pain. Avoid ibuprofen if you have stomach or asthma problems. Ask your doctor if you're not sure about anything.
- Don't go swimming until your ear infection has cleared completely.