Home Symptoms Itching in the ear: causes, treatment, home remedies

Itching in the ear: causes, treatment, home remedies

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 345 views

Itching in the ear tempts you to poke your finger, cotton swab or other object in the ear canal. You can quickly injure the inside of the ear. In addition, the itching in the ear can only be relieved for a short time by scratching, because an infection is often behind it. Read the most important information about the causes and treatment of itchy ears.

Itching in the ear: description

Ear itching is occasional or chronic itching in the ear canal. Chronic itching is difficult to treat and often returns.

An infection ( inflammation of the auditory canal ) is often the cause of the itching in the ear . It is caused, for example, by excessive or incorrect ear cleaning. But other diseases such as allergies or psoriasis can also cause itchy ears.

Itching in the ear: causes and possible diseases

If it itches in the ear, this can have different causes. The most important are:

Inflammation of the auditory canal (otitis externa): Inflammation of the external auditory canal with or without involvement of the eardrum is usually caused by a mixed infection with bacteria and fungi. But it can also be caused by an allergy, for example. Soaps, shampoos, hair sprays and certain antibiotic-containing ear drops act as allergy triggers, for example. The ear canal inflammation begins with a feeling of pressure and itching in the ear. There is also diffuse, severe pain (e.g. when chewing or pulling on the auricle ), foul-smelling, purulent discharge from the ear, swelling in the auditory canal and possibly a hearing loss. Sometimes fever also occurs.

Too little earwax: Some people naturally have too little earwax (cerumen); this can cause itchy ears.

Skin Conditions : Eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions can cause itchy ears.

Allergy: The typical symptoms of a seasonal allergy ( hay fever ) are a runny and often blocked nose , sneezing and itching of the mucous membranes. In rarer cases, those affected also complain of itchy ears and itchy skin .

Itchy Ear: When Should You See a Doctor?

Go to the doctor if:

  • In addition to the itching in the ear, other symptoms occur, for example earache , drainage of secretions from the ear or hearing loss.
  • the itching in the ear persists or gets worse.

Itching in the ear: what does the doctor do?

The ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT doctor) will first ask you about your medical history ( anamnesis ). He will inquire, for example, how long the itching in the ear has existed, whether there are other symptoms (such as an earache) or whether you are suffering from an underlying disease (eg diabetes, allergies).

He will then carefully examine your ears. If he has a concrete suspicion of what could be causing the itching in the ear, further examinations may follow. If the doctor suspects a bacterial infection, a smear is taken and the pathogen detected. If an allergy is the cause of itchy ears, an allergy test is carried out.

This is how the doctor can treat an itchy ear

If an underlying disease is the cause of the itchy ear, it must be treated. If, for example, an allergy causes the itching in the ear, allergy medication (antihistamines) are used. In the case of an ear canal inflammation caused by an infection, the ears are first cleaned thoroughly. The patient is then given suitable medication, for example antibiotics against bacteria or antimycotics against fungi.

In diabetics in particular, inflammation of the auditory canal can take a severe course (otitis externa necroticans) and may then necessitate an operation.

Itching in the ear: You can do that yourself

Itchy ears are often caused by an ear infection. Various factors can promote such inflammation. These include excessive ear cleaning, use of cotton swabs, and frequent bathing or swimming . In order to avoid an ear canal infection and the associated itching in the ear, you should therefore heed the following advice:

  • Do not overdo the cleaning of the ears, otherwise the skin on the inside will dry out. It is then more susceptible to bacterial and fungal attack.
  • Actually, the auditory canals do not need to be cleaned at all – they do it all by themselves with the help of numerous cilia, which constantly transport dust, excess earwax and dead skin cells in the direction of the exit, i.e. the auricle. Above all, you should keep your hands off cotton swabs. In most cases, this only pushes the earwax & Co. deeper into the ear. In addition, the hard inner core at the end of the rods can easily injure the sensitive skin of the ear canal – a welcome gateway for bacteria and fungi.
  • Diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels should be particularly careful when cleaning their ears. They often do not notice minor bruises and injuries in the ear canal, which leads to bacterial and fungal infections more quickly. Diabetics should ideally have their earwax removed by an ENT doctor at least once a year.
  • In the case of an ear canal infection with pain and itching in the ear, cold is often felt to be more pleasant than heat. In this case, you can insert cotton swabs soaked in high-proof alcohol (schnapps, medical alcohol) into the auricle. As soon as the cold stimulus wears off, repeat the procedure. Alternatively, you can place an ice pack, covered with a linen cloth, on the ear. The following applies to all cold applications: Stop immediately if you find the cold stimulus uncomfortable.
  • If swimming pool water, bath water, soap, shampoo etc. cause itching in your ears, you can largely seal the ear canals with special water-repellent cotton before swimming, bathing, showering or washing your hair. This means that only a little water gets into the ear and itching in the ear can be prevented.

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