What exactly do itchy ears mean? What causes the itching? Get to know the possible causes of itchy ears and the various available treatments that can be used to get rid of the problem.
Itchy ears refers to the uncomfortable irritating sensation within the ear structure, the itchiness is often in the outer ear i.e canal, earlobe, behind the ear and sometimes on the middle ear. The itching can be mild or in some cases severe or persistent. It can also affect either one ear or both. In some cases this problem is usually persistent at night.
Itchy Ears inside Causes
- SKIN INFECTIONS
Skin conditions that can severely damage the skin on any part of the body also affect ears and cause dryness, flaking, crusting and itching in the ear canal. Some of the skin conditions include:
- Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. Ear canal eczema in most cases is usually accompanied by symptoms such as flaking, scaling, itchy rash, and inflammation of the skin area around the ear. The cause of eczema could exposure to allergens or it could be a spontaneous infection such as chronic otitis externa.
- Ear Psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that can affect the outer and inside of the ear. People with ear psoriasis will have dry flaky skin inside the ear, because of the skin rejuvenation cycle that accelerates the dead skin to pile up over the skin causing scaly patches. Psoriasis condition can spread to the rest of the face and neck.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis can on rare cases cause flaking of the skin both outside and inside the ear.
Allergens are the main causative agents of persistent itchy ear and it is triggered by an environmental factor such as pollen, dust or certain chemicals that come in contact with the skin of the ear. These environmental triggers are harmless but can cause an allergic reaction to an individual sensitivity to it.
- FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Ear fungal infection is also known otomycosis and it commonly affect people with ear liquid because moist environment provide an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria. The ear fungal infection is usually characterized by scaling and itchy rash. Ear fungal infection accounts for around 10% of those diagnosed with ear inflammation. The common cause of the infection is fungal species of candida and aspergillus.
- OTITIS EXTERNA
Otitis externa is the inflammation and swelling of the passage of the outer ear. Otitis externa is also known as swimmer’s ear. There are many factors that contribute to otitis externa, among them is water being trapped in the ears. This condition is common among people who swim though it can affect any other person. Otitis externa is usually accompanied with symptoms such as itchiness of the ear canal, an ear discharge and pain. The treatment of this condition can involve use of either injectable or oral antibiotics, which are good in relieving the pain. Hydrocortisone containing antibacterial and antifungal agents can also be used to reduce the inner ear infection.
- EXCESSIVE EARWAX
Earwax is also known as cerumen and is naturally produced by the cells lining the ear canal. It plays an important role in moisturizing these skin cells, repelling insects that enter the ear canal as well as preventing infections. Small amounts of earwax naturally drain out on a constant basis but sometimes when the wax production is excessive or pushed in with cotton buds then it can become impacted and cause a range of symptoms from itching to pain and even slight impairment.
- OTITIS MEDIA
Otitis media is characterized by inflammation, earache and itchy ear on the space behind your eardrums. Though this condition is common in children, it can also affect adults too. When children are affected by otitis media, they will engage in persistent pulling of either one of the ears or both, cry, experience irritable periods of sleep, fever, reduce eating among other symptoms.
Persistent itchy ears or ear discharge might be an indication that you either have a faulty or clogged Eustachian tube. In such a situation it is advisable you seek medical help from a professional doctor.
- REGULAR SWIMMING
Various investigation have showed that 70% of regular swimmers have complains of ear itching problem than those that are not regular swimmers. The possible cause of this can be too much moisture and possible exposure to many bacteria and fungi in water.
To avoid being a victim of ear itchiness and ear infection due to swimming you need to use a swimming cap or earplugs when you go for swimming or use a cool blow dryer to remove any moisture after a shower or swimming.
- HEARING AIDS
Ill-fitted hearing aids exert pressure on some parts of your ears hence resulting to an allergic reaction to this hearing aid can lead to itchiness and inflammation within the ear.
- OTHER CAUSES
There are also many other factors and conditions that can cause itchy ears and they include Eczema, warm climatic conditions, ringworms, too little earwax, contact dermatitis, cold and flu, medications and sticking blunt objects into the ears which can break your skin leading to germ entry especially bacterial.
Itchy Inner Ear and Throat
Itchy inner ears and throat is due to a condition known as allergic rhinitis. This can simply be defined as inflammation of the nose. This happens when you come in contact with environmental allergens such as pollen, dust or chemical substances. Also, itchy ear and throat can happen due to dehydration. Dehydration leads to drying of the mucus lining in the throat and as a result, you experience itching inside the throat. Dehydration also occurs as a result of side effect of certain medication or excessive smoking.
Itchy inner ear and throat can also be caused by certain viral and bacterial infections. Some of the symptoms associated with itchy inner ear and throat include:
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes nose and throats
- Running nose
- Tickle in throat and coughing
- Stuffy nose, ( nasal congestion)
- Sensitivity to light
- Pain in the nose and ear
- Pressure in the ear
- Hearing loss after sometime
- Post-nasal drip
Treatment for rhinitis includes avoiding allergens or medications (both over-the-counter and prescriptions). Treatment can also involve administration of antihistamines. Antihistamines substantially reduce the allergic response to certain allergens.
Antibiotics such as penicillin can also be administered to treat bacterial infections causing itchy ear and throat. Surgery is the last resort to correct any structural issues in the sinuses that may be causing the symptoms. Certain herbs such as green tea and licorice can also help to get rid of the problem.
Itchy Ears Allergies
Allergies to various allergy-causing-agents such as medicines, cleaning detergents, bathing products, pollen, pet dander, insect bites, dust, mites and foods can trigger allergic reactions that can cause general body itchiness, swollen face and ears.
The best way to deal with allergy is to avoid allergens, get allergy shots and trying over-the-counter antihistamines, among other treatments to manage the various symptoms that result from hay fever such as ear itchiness.
Home Remedies for Itchy Ears
Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil
Coconut oil has ingredients such as Lauric acid which has hydrating and nourishing properties that help to hydrate the skin. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that help to fight bacteria causing infection.
To use Tea tree oil and coconut oil:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of coconut oil with 2 drops of tea tree oil.
- Using an ear-dropper, place 1 drop of this mixture into your ear and another 1 drop around the ear
- Massage the area around your ears with this solution.
- Repeat this process 2 times a day for 1 week.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is known to contain ingredients with antiseptic properties. The antiseptic properties of the vinegar will break down the yeast build up, relieve itchiness, clean the area of dead skin build up and kill any bacteria.
To use Apple cider vinegar:
- Mix apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water.
- Using an ear dropper pour 2 drops of this solution onto the affected area
- Massage your ear gently.
- Leave the remedy to sit for 30 minutes and then wipe it clean with a wet towel.
- Repeat this process 2 times a day for 1 week.
To keep the white flakes in the ear canal from forming again you need to remove the crust and excess oils from your ear. This is very important as it facilitates the healing process.
To use wet cloth in this process:
- Dip a thin fiber cloth in lukewarm water and wring out the excess water.
- Gently remove the crust and flakes around the ear.
- In this process, be careful not to insert the cloth too deep into your ear canal.
- Repeat this process on a daily basis.
Olive Oil and Garlic Oil
Mixtures of olive oil and garlic oil have been used for a very long time as a remedy for itchy ear. The both oils together contain antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. These properties fight bacterial and fungal infections causing itchiness and inflammation in your ear. The two oils (olive and garlic oil), clears excess oils, yeast and dust particles from your ears.
To use a mixture of Olive and Garlic:
- Mix 3 tablespoon of olive oil and 3 tablespoon of garlic oil.
- Using an ear dropper, pour 2 drops of this mixture into your ear and areas around your ear.
- Massage areas around your ear for 2 minutes.
- Let the solution sit on the affected area for 30 minutes.
- Then, rinse your ear with clean lukewarm water.
- Do this once on a daily basis for 1 week.
Almond oil is rich with large quantities of vitamin E and antioxidants, which promotes a healthy skin and removes flaky dry skin in the ears.
To use Almond Oil:
- Take a few drops of almond oil into the palm of the hand.
- Massage your ear gently in circular motions.
- Leave the oil on overnight.
- In the, morning rinse your ear clean with lukewarm water.
- Repeat the process once in a day for 1 week.
- Alternatively, using an ear dropper pour two drops of almond oil inside the ear canal and massage the outer part of the ear gently.
Alcohol and vinegar
Alcohol is antiseptic in nature. When used as a remedy for itchy ear, it melts the earwax away making the ear canal clean. Vinegar has acetic acid that kills the infection-causing bacteria.
To use Alcohol and Vinegar:
- Mix 1 part of alcohol with one part white vinegar
- Using an ear dropper, put 2 drops inside your ear canal.
- Hold it for a few minutes and then drain it out.
- Rinse off your ear clean with lukewarm water.
- Repeat this process, 2 times a day for 1 week.
Take a pinch of pure shea butter and rub it on the area around your ears to treat dry flaky skin in the ears. Its deep emollient properties will treat white flakes in ears. Repeat this twice a day and let it get absorbed naturally.
Aloe Vera contains ingredients such as Allicin and antioxidants which restore the PH balance soothe inflammation and reduce swelling.
To use Aloe Vera:
- Peel an aloe vera plant leaf, open it up and extract its gel in a bowel.
- Using an ear dropper, put 2 drops of this extract into your ear canal
- Hold your ear for a few minutes then, draw the extract out.
- Do this 2 times a day for 1 week.
- Alternatively, add few drops to the dry flaky skin in your ear canal and massage gently. Repeat this process 2 times a day for 4 days.
Olive oil contains ingredients that are rich in Vitamin E, antioxidants and oleic acid, which can heal, nourish and promote regeneration of new skin cells.
To use Olive Oil:
- Take an ear dropper, and pour 2 drops of this oil directly into your ear canal.
- Using your fingertips, massage the area to distribute the oil.
- Try this remedy for itchy ear canals once a week.
Petroleum jelly is a powerful emollient, which alleviates itchy skin, removes dryness, helping the skin to lock in moisture a factor which accelerates the healing process.
To use petroleum Jelly:
- Take a pinch of the petroleum jelly on your fingers.
- Massage your ears gently with this jelly.
- Avoid applying it inside the ear canal.
- Do this 3 times a day for 5 days.
Itchy Ears inside Treatment
Hydrogen peroxide inside the ear canal can be used to get rid of bacteria or fungal infections.
- Using an ear dropper, pour few drops of the hydrogen peroxide in the infected ear.
- Do this 2 times a day for 1 week.
- If the symptoms fail to go way, seek medical advice.
For otitis media, dermatitis and fungal infection, antibiotic ointment can be used. For those with chronic medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or HIV you need to seek medical attention. It is advisable to consult your doctor so that he can prescribe medications that can avoid allergy and other medical complications.
This is a painless procedure whereby the ear wax is drained by sucking. The procedure is usually very quick and can only be done by a qualified health professional.
This is a medical procedure where an electric pump is pushed to pump water into the ear. The procedure helps to wash the earwax out and reduce blockage that cause itchiness. Ear irrigation also helps to keep the ear canal wet to prevent the itching and irritation.
This is a thin instrument with a hoop and is used to clean and scrape out the ear wax that is blocking the ear canal and to some extend causing irritation and inflammation.
When ear itchiness is accompanied by symptoms such as fever and headache, antibiotics can be helpful in getting rid of these symptoms. Antibiotics can also be administered in case of swelling, bleeding or lumps in the ear.
Steroidal topical ointment
A common steroid useful In this case is hydrocortisone. It works effectively against inflammation, swelling and itching caused by skin and body complication.
How to prevent having the problem of ear itchiness
- Use jewelries that are anti-allergenic
- When taking a shower prevent excess water from entering your ear.
- When going for swimming ensure you wear a swimming headband.
- Regularly clean your ears to prevent the build-up of wax, by using a little olive oil.
- Be careful with hearing aids and ear plugs. If you have to put the hearing aid in your ears, ensure that your ear canal is dry after showering before putting them back inside your ears.
- Reduce your exposure to allergens and take antihistamine medications when necessary.
My Ears Itch Deep Inside
When ears itch deep inside and you have tried natural home remedies without success, and that with time the itchiness is continuing to be consistent and persistent, with severe bleeding or excessive discharge, it could be a symptom of a serious anaphylactic reaction which impairs breathing, causes swelling, fainting and vomiting. In such a case you need to visit a professional health doctor for examination.