If you’ve ever experienced itchy ears, you know how annoying they can be. Some people get so tired of the uncomfortable feeling that they stick objects in their ears to get rid of it. But sticking objects in your ears is never a good idea as you risk causing trauma to your hearing and damaging your eardrum.
What is the best way to treat itchy ears? The answer depends on what causes itchy ears to appear in the first place. Although the itching in most cases is not caused by anything serious, it may indicate a potential medical condition. Take the time to read about the possible causes, so that you can find the right solution to your problems.
Itchy ears is a symptom that might suggest an ear infection and there are different types of pathogens which can cause the infection. External otitis (also called ear canal eczema, outer ear inflammation and swimmer’s ear) or outer ear infections is one of the most common forms, causing clear ear pain as well as itching in the ear canals. This condition is also known as swimmer’s syndrome and can happen if water gets stuck in your ear canal after you’ve swum.
Otitis media affects your middle ear and causes similar symptoms as external otitis. In fungal infections, the itching tends to be more intense. Other than that, it’s pretty hard to tell what type of ear infection you have to deal with. Doctors often start by prescribing an antibiotic and if the treatment fails, they assume that it may be a fungal infection.
Your earwax, known as cerumen, plays several important roles. One of its many functions is to provide moisture to the skin on the inner surface of the ear canal. It also acts as a protector between the eardrum and the outside world. Ear wax picks up dead skin and dirt and transports it out through the outer ear. But the truth is that too much of anything can be bad. This statement also applies to earwax, as too much of it can be the cause of your itching.
If you’re struggling to build up your earwax, try to resist the urge to remove the excess with swabs. Inserting objects into your ear canal, including cotton swabs, is a bad idea. All you’ll do is push the wax deeper, where it can get stuck. Over-the-counter ear drops that dissolve the wax are a much better choice. Be careful not to remove too much of the wax as a lack of wax can cause dry ears leading to itching.
An allergic reaction can also cause itching inside your ears. Personal hygiene products, such as shampoo or body soap, are often to blame. If you listen to a lot of music, don’t wear your headphones for several hours at a time. Headphones and earplugs bring bacteria and dirt into your ear canal, cause itchy ears, and can even lead to infections.
If you suspect that an allergy may be the source of your itching, you need to find the cause that triggers it and immediately stop using it.
Hearing aids and nickel jewelry have also been connected to itchy ears. The problem with hearing aids is their plastic coating. You might be more prone to an allergic reaction to the material if you have sensitive skin. If you use hearing aids and somehow water gets stuck behind it, you may also experience itchy ears .
If your hearing aid is the cause of your itchy ears, an ear specialist or audiologist can help you find a solution.
Eczema and psoriasis
Eczema can develop anywhere on a person’s body, even near the ear where the condition is called ear eczema. The main symptoms are itchiness in and around your ears. If you have psoriasis, you’re also much more likely to suffer from this skin condition.
Millions of people around the world suffer from food allergies. If you are allergic to any particular food, exposure to it will trigger an unhealthy immune system. You may develop a condition called oral allergy syndrome if you have hay fever or pollen allergy. This type of allergy can prevent you from eating certain vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
If you suffer from the syndrome, your ears may itch when you eat these foods. Other symptoms of the syndrome include an itchy, stinging, lumpy or swollen mouth, tongue and throat.
In most cases, over-the-counter treatment methods are enough to relieve itchy ears. But it is important to find the source of the problem. The type of remedy you will use often depends on the cause of the itching.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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