Itching in the ears

Itching in the ears is very annoying on a daily basis. It can have various causes and origins, last for several days or even longer and affect one or both ears at the same time. If you have itchy ears, it is important to implement simple measures to take care of your ears on a daily basis and to consult a general practitioner or specialist.



Why do your ears itch?

Itchy ears often affect a specific part of the ear:

  • Outside: itching concerns the external ear, the lobe, the external auditory canal or the groove behind the ear.
  • Inner ear: in this case the person’s ear itches inside and they complain of itching in the inner ear.

There are many reasons for itchy ears:

  • A hygiene problem: earwax plays a protective role in the ear when present in reasonable quantities. Excess earwax should be removed regularly with a suitable product. Lack of hygiene leads to a build-up of earwax and causes itching in the ear. Conversely, excessive hygiene weakens the various structures of the ear and promotes itching.
  • An ear infection: inflammation of the ear. There are various types, according to their localization in the ear and their origin (bacterial, viral, etc.). Outer ear infections are very common in both adults and children. They usually occur after swimming, when water has stagnated in the ear. The person will have an itchy ear and also feel pain in the ear or have an earache.
  • An ENT infection: these are common infections, which again occur at any age. Itchy ears are accompanied by symptoms in the throat and nose.
  • A skin disease: eczema and psoriasis are very common chronic inflammatory dermatoses that can affect any part of the body. Pruritus is a very common symptom in these skin diseases. Itchy ears are usually associated with other itching on the face.
  • Wearing hearing aids, earplugs, headphones, etc. for a long time is a frequent cause of itchy ears and itching in the ear canal. The lack of maintenance of these different devices can lead to a proliferation of microbes in the ear.
  • An allergy: costume earrings usually contain nickel, a metal to which many people are allergic, sometimes without knowing it. The skin of the ear becomes red and itchy. Other allergies are related to itchy ears, such as allergies to certain cosmetic ingredients, perfumes, dyes, preservatives, etc.
  • A foreign body: any type of foreign body can inadvertently find its way into the ear canal and cause itching. They can be food scraps, bits of plastic from an object or toy, pieces of a cotton swab, or even insects!

How do you relieve itching in the ears?

First of all, it is essential to identify the cause of the itching in the ear because treatment will depend on the cause. Consulting a general practitioner or specialist is usually necessary to get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Some tips for itchy ears:

  • Do not insert any object into the ear, as this could damage the ear and impair hearing irreversibly.
  • Do not use ear drops without consulting a doctor. There is a large number of ear drops adapted to each type of ear infection. When you have itchy ears, you should never reuse drops prescribed for another problem or to another person. In addition, some drops are contraindicated in cases of perforated eardrums, and only a doctor with a special device called an otoscope can examine the eardrum.
  • Remove all jewelry on the ear, prostheses, plugs, earphones. Wash your body, face and hair with gentle cleansing products that are free of perfumes and harmful substances. Rinse the ears well and dry them with a towel.

To avoid itching in the ears, washing the ears with a suitable cleanser, in the form of drops or spray is recommended. Cotton swabs can be used to remove excess earwax from the opening of the ear canal but should not go any further. Clean the devices that are inserted into the ears very regularly and thoroughly.

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