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What to do about itchy ears

Most people have experienced itching of the ears in some form - and know just how irritating it can be.

If you have noticed a change in your hearing, we’re here to help when you need us, book an appointment for a free hearing health check.

Dry, itchy ears can affect anyone, regardless of age. Unfortunately, though, a good scratch from time to time won’t really help, with the aggravation probably doing more harm than realised.

Boots Hearingcare takes a look at the issue of itchy ears and how to find relief without causing damage to the ears themselves or the skin surrounding them…

What can cause itchy ears?

Irritated, itchy ears happen for many reasons. When sensitive inner skin is damaged, waterlogged, or infected, inflammation or itching can occur, causing pain. Itchy ears are common, and while they don’t directly impact hearing health, using objects to scratch inside has the potential to be dangerous.

Causes of itchy ears can include:

Itchy ears may be a sign of a middle-ear infection too. Your doctor can help pinpoint the exact problem and guide you to the right treatment.

Symptoms of itchy ears

Experiencing itchy ears isn’t just about the itch. There are other warning signs to look out for as well, and knowing them will hopefully prevent excessive discomfort in the long run.
Additional symptoms of itchy ears may include:

  • Drainage from the ear canal
  • Swelling of the ear(s)
  • Fever
Although itchy ears are no fun, they are rarely harmful – but be sure to talk to a doctor if your symptoms show no indication of improving.

Seeking specialist help for itchy ears

Medical attention may be necessary if you experience severe bleeding or drainage from your itchy ears, or cannot hear clearly. If hearing loss does occur, seek a doctor’s help immediately.
They will start by asking about your medical history to identify possible underlying causes, before checking for any excess earwax close to the eardrum - which can bring on itching. Eczema-like patches may also be present and require specific treatment.


Preventing itchy ears

The first thing you should do to prevent itchy ears is stop sticking things in them. This includes cotton swabs, which can not only remove protective earwax but also damage the ear and push the wax in deeper, leading to greater discomfort.

Always remember to gently dry your ears with an actual dryer after getting them wet. Doing so reduces the likelihood of trapped moisture, which is the chief cause of ear itching and infections.

Finally, certain metallic jewellery has been linked to itchy ears. If this is the case with yours, you may wish to consider switching to different items that do not have such an adverse effect on your hearing health.

What home remedy can I use for Itchy ears?

Seeing as most cases of itchy ears are due to poor ear skin health, treatment is very often geared towards remedying this imbalance. To reduce inflammation and pain, doctors will recommend or prescribe any of the following:

  • Baby oil, which softens the skin
  • A steroid ointment or cream
  • Eardrops

Sometimes, home remedies can help soothe the itching sensation. These include:

  • Aloe vera
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Warm oil - e.g., coconut, olive, tea tree or garlic
  • A solution of water and alcohol

Of course, do make sure that you check with your doctor before using these methods. They may be able to suggest a more successful alternative.

Itchy ears may not signal anything serious, but it’s always better to be on the safe side. See an audiologist or doctor to inspect your itchy ears and make sure they’re in good shape.

Are itchy ears making you uncomfortable? Visit Boots Hearingcare for a hearing health check so there aren’t any unpleasant surprises…