It’s one of the ultimate itches you can’t scratch, an itchy ear!
While you can’t scratch it, knowing what’s causing that itchy ear could help you prevent and stop the itchiness while saving your sanity.
What’s causing that itchy ear?
There are numerous reasons why your ears may be itchy. Some, you’ve heard before, but if you’re like most people, some will come as a surprise.
Seasonal allergies – when seasonal allergies hit and histamines run high, the immune system kicks into high gear and symptoms such as congestion, sneezing and, yes, itchy ears, are not uncommon. While this is one of the first causes we think of when ears start itching, it’s certainly not the only one to be aware of.
Food allergies – Get a tickle in your ears when you indulge in shrimp scampi? Find yourself trying in vain to soothe an ear canal itch after a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Food allergies may be the cause. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed, it may be a good idea to test for food allergies and sensitivities to get to the bottom of it. Eliminating certain foods from your diet could mean lasting relief from itchy ears.
Overdry ears or lack of earwax – There is such a thing as being too clean, especially when it comes to the ears. Earwax helps to protect the ear canal from bacteria and outside particles like dust, but when there’s too little of it, especially from over-cleaning, itchiness can be the result. This is also often the case for people who don’t naturally produce enough earwax.
Earwax build-up – The opposite, or a build-up of earwax, may also be a cause of an itchy ear when it becomes a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria
Hearing aids – This is a common cause of itchy ears and one that can often be easily remedied with a trip to your hearing healthcare provider. One study found that almost 40% of earmold users experienced itching. The itching can be caused by an allergic reaction to the hearing aid, a too-loose or too-tight fit or improper cleaning or use of hearing aids that results in skin irritation.
Eczema or psoriasis – That’s right, these skin conditions can cause discomfort and itching just about anywhere on your body, including your ear canals.
Now that you have a better idea of what may be causing those itchy ears, it may be time to do something about it.
How to prevent and treat itchy ears
If your ears are trying your patience with their itching, know that there are solutions out there to ease your suffering. Whether it’s:
Avoiding certain pollens and foods that trigger allergies
Taking an antihistamine to soothe your immune system
Leaving earwax alone to do its job in the ear canal free from the interference of cotton swabs
Seeing your hearing healthcare provider for help with hearing aid adjustments or excessive earwax removal
Taking specialized medications to relieve skin conditions or
Working with your ENT to identify and treat the cause of your itchy ears
You don’t have to suffer.
If you have questions or would like help preventing or treating your itchy ears, contact our office to schedule an appointment.