Itchy Ear Canal: Cause and Treatment

Itchy Ear Canal

Itchy Ear Canal

Itchy Ear Canal

Ear canal is a tube that is connected the inner eardrum and the Outer ear. Inserting anything into the ear canal could lead to severe problems and worsen of allergies and infections.Itchy ears means that there a breakdown in ear skin health.


What are Itchy Ear Canal Causes?

Itchy ears can be the first sign of an ear infection, but if the problem is chronic, it is more likely caused by a chronic dermatitis of the ear canal.

  • Inflammation: Main causes of itchy ear canal areusually because an inflammation of the outer ear canal called otitis externa. Inflammation of the ear canal can be caused by infection, allergies or other reasons.
  • Ear Infections: Infections can also be caused by cleaning your ears the wrong way. Never use cotton swabs, paper clips, bobby pins to clean your ears. Type of Ear Infection: Ear infections are a very common reason that causes itch in the ear canal.
    • Bacterial Infection: Excessive moisture can also cause itchiness in the ear because too much moisture can lead to bacterial infections
    • Fungal Infections: Fungal infections can cause chronic itching in the ear canal.
    • The ear can also be infected with ear mites: a parasite similar to the dust mites that live in your pillow. ear mite (demodex)that extremely common in humans can cause itchy ears and mites
    • Viral infections: the most common one is recurrent herpes zoster where small blisters are seen in or on the ear.
  • Psoriasis and Dermatitis: Itching in the ear canal sometimes appear because of atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis. The conditions can affect any area of the body including the ear canal.Inflammation caused by dermatitis causes itching in the ear and can lead to infection if left untreated.
  • Allergies: Allergen factor are a very common reason for a chronic (persistent) itchy ears allergies and usually you can’t get rid of itunless you remove the allergen factors.Food allergies can also cause an itch inside your ear
  • Insufficient Little Earwax: Some people produce too little ear wax and this can cause ear canal itching because ear wax is necessary to lubricate, and to protect your inner ear. Having too little earwax can make your ears feel itchy and uncomfortable and more likely to get ear infections.
  • Extremely hot or cold environment
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Trauma on ear canal
  • Insects that may trap in the ear.
  • Ear Canal Infection (Otitis Externa): Infection of the outer ear canal may develop when water, dirt or other debris gets into the ear canal. There are two type of otitisexterna:
    1. Acute otitis externa is commonly a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, or Pseudomonas types of bacteria.
    2. Chronic otitis externa can be caused by a bacterial infection, but it is more likely to be caused by chronic dermatitis of the ear canal. People with chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis are more prone to outer ear infections.
  • Medication or stress
  • Hearing Aids: The hearing aid can trap moisture in the ear and causing an infection, also allergic reaction may occur from the polish material on the hearing aid surface.
  • Dry Ears: Cleaning your ears too much can also cause your ears to become itchy because no ear wax that useful to protect ear from bacteria left and makes the ear dry.Dry ears can be the result of dry skin conditions that also affect other parts of the body. These conditions include:
    1. Eczema in ear canal causesextreme irritation
    2. Psoriasis
    3. Dermatitis: This is inflammation of the skin. Different forms of dermatitis can be the result of an allergic reaction.
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Symptom of Itchy Ear Canal

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Prickly feeling in the ear when food is swallowed (in case of food allergies)
  • Pain
  • Flaking, crusting skin
  • Fever
  • Itchiness
  • Drainage from the ear
  • A foul-smelling, yellowish discharge from the ear
  • Temporarily muffled hearing (caused by blockage of the ear canal)
  • Enlarged neck glands


How to Diagnose Itchy Ear Canal Cause?

Test to diagnosis itchy ear canalinclude:

  • Physical examination
    • Lab tests
      • Gram stain test and culture of the discharge from the ear canal
      • Determination of blood sugar level
      • Dipstick test on urine sample
    • Imaging tests
      • CT Scan (Computed Tomography) – for the determination of bone erosion
      • Radio nucleotide bone scanning
      • Gallium scanning
      • MRI scans (Magnetic resonance imaging) for examination of soft tissue
  • Checking for any history of trauma to the ears
  • Examination for any signs of allergy
  • Examination by scaling of the skin in the ear


Effective Treatment for Itchy Ear Canal

Treatment for Itchy Ear Canal

Treatment for Itchy Ear Canal

Most cases of itchy ear resolve by itself. Avoid inserting any objects into your ear because it can cause more damage and that will give bacteria an opening to start a further infection.

Itchy Ear Canal Treatment falls into two stages:

  1. Stopping the itch, and
  2. Clearing up the infection or skin condition.


How to treat Itchy Ear Effectively?

  • wear shower caps to prevent inflamed areas from becoming moist
  • apply moisturizing ear drops
  • avoid swimming until the condition clears up
  • get antibiotic ear drops for itchy ear caused by infection
  • alleviate swelling around the outer ear by using corticosteroid drops
  • ear syringing method to unblock ear canal from earwax buildup
  • take anti-fungal ear drops
  • Remove wax: too much of ear wax can cause itching and pain.
  • Use Peroxide to loosen the wax inside the ears.
  • Warm Oil: a few drops of warm oil can be applied inside the earto relieve itching.
  • A mixture of Alcohol and Water:reduce itchiness using this mixture can help to remove debris or bugs from the ear canal.
  • Take painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve your ear pain.
  • Steroid creams are used in persons with allergic skin diseases affecting the ear
  • Anti-itch creams and lotions containing camphor, menthol, phenol, pramoxine (Caladryl, Tronolane), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or benzocaine can bring relief.
  • Get oral antibiotics if your ear infection is accompanied by fever or blood or pus draining from your ear.
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Prevention from Annoying Itchy Ear Canal

  • Protecting your ears from excess moisture
  • using shampoos or shower gels that are formulated for sensitive skin
  • allergies are involved, antihistamine medications can be used
  • use moisturizing creams or oils to ward off cracking and excessive dryness
  • use of steroid ear drops for itchy ears
  • wearing shower caps and cotton wool balls when you bathe
  • if you wear hearing aids, make sure to wipe carefully the ear mold with alcohol before fitting the hearing aid.
  • avoid making the inflammation worse by using cotton swabs, water, and other irritants material
  • Use olive oil in your ears.
  • Be gentle with your ears.
  • Controlling your allergies by reduce exposure to allergens and take antihistamine medication when necessary.
  • washing your pillowcase regularly
  • Avoid using jewelry or earplugs if they contribute in causing allergic reactions to your ear


Popular Home Itchy Ear Remedy

  • White Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol Mixture

Combine one part white vinegar and one part rubbing alcohol. place a few drops into your ear This mixture is a good natural remedies for itchy ear treatment.

  • Warm compress

Applying a warm compress to the ear may help ease the pain of the infection.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

Sometimes itchiness is caused by a buildup of ear wax. If this is the case, try an equal mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water.

  • Aloe Vera

AloeVera can help excess inflammation.

  • Oils and Garlic

Infuse the olive oil with garlic for antibacterial benefits.


Tips to Keep Ear Canal Healthy

Avoid scratching when possible to prevent worsening of the condition and disruption of the skin that could lead to bacterial infection. Patting ears gently dry after showering also keep bacteria at bay, which help reduces the risk of infection.


When You Need to See Doctor?

If itchy ear bring a more serious condition below, get immediate medical treatment:

  • Changes in consciousness or alertness
  • Respiratory or breathing problems
  • Sudden swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
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Tightness or constriction of the throat

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