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Itchy Ears

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Even though the ear is one of the smallest parts of the body, experiencing itchiness in that area is not pleasant and it can cause a lot of discomfort. Identifying the exact cause is essential to choose the best medical treatment or home remedy.

Symptoms of Itchy Ears

These are the most common symptoms of itchy ears:

  • Itchiness – scratching can aggravate the condition, so it is not recommended. The itchiness can affect both the exterior cartilage of the ear and the inner parts. If the itchiness is sudden and accompanied by other systemic symptoms (such as swelling), then it might be the symptom of an allergic reaction.
  • Irritation – often appears as a symptom after ear trauma
  • Redness and warmth – these two symptoms can appear, because of the enhanced blood circulation directed towards the area
  • Discomfort – because of the constant need to scratch and the additional symptoms that might appear
  • Inflammation – the level of swelling depends on the cause
  • Ear area painful or tender to the touch
  • In case of ear infection, discharge might also be released from the area
  • Systemic symptoms can also appear with infections, such as:
    • Fever or general malaise
    • Headache
    • Flu-like symptoms – sneezing, coughing
    • Sore throat
    • Sweating/chills
  • Scaling or crusting – these accompany the itchiness in people who are known to have an allergenic terrain.
  • In case of severe allergy reactions, life-threatening symptoms can be present:
    • Difficult breathing
    • Sudden swelling of the tongue or other parts of the face
    • Tightness of laryngeal muscles
    • Fainting.

Causes of Itchy ears

These are the most common causes that can lead to the appearance of itchy ears:

Ear wax

  • Increased quantities of ear wax can irritate the inner ear canal, causing itchiness
  • Reduced quantities of ear wax contribute to the dryness of the inner ear canal, causing itchiness as well

Allergy

  • The allergy reaction can appear after one has eaten certain foods or used different cosmetic products, including hair care products such as shampoo or conditioner
  • Chemical substances can also cause serious allergenic reactions, with itchy ears but also with life-threatening symptoms
  • Insect stings frequently occur in the ear area, causing itchiness and potential anaphylactic reactions
  • Other potential allergens include cosmetic dyes, laundry detergents, metal jewelry or poison ivy

Infection

  • Ear infections with different pathological organisms frequently lead to itchy ears
  • Infections appear thanks to predisposing factors, such as excessive humidity in the outer/inner ear area (as it happens with swimmers)
  • Fungal infections are most common, leading to discharge as well
  • Childhood infectious diseases, such as chickenpox, can cause itchy ears
  • Infections with ringworm
  • Bacterial infections – most commonly the strep throat

Skin conditions – the ear area, including the inner canal, can be itchy in the following cases:

  • Eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis.

Other causes include:

  • Frequent and constant exposure to extreme temperatures (cold/heat) – also going from cold to heat fast can cause itchy ears (sudden change in temperature)
  • Taking certain medication – the itchy ears appear as side-effects
  • Wearing a hearing aid.
  • Stress, emotions or anxiety

Treatment

These are the most common methods of treatment recommended for itchy ears:

Corticosteroids

  • Topical applications of steroid creams are recommended for less severe cases
  • Oral corticosteroids are only recommended for severe cases and for reduced periods of time, as they can have serious side-effects

Anti-histamines

  • These are recommended to reduce both the itchiness and inflammation in the ear area

Antibiotic ointment/oral administration

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  • Recommended in cases of infection caused by different types of bacteria
  • The treatment should be taking for as long as it is prescribed, otherwise the bacteria will become resistant to the medication
  • Oral antibiotics are recommended in case of strep throat, so as to eliminate the bacteria completely from the body
  • Antibiotics are also recommended if there is blood or pus coming out from the ear (signs of infection)

Eardrops

  • These are recommended in case of viral infection after prolonged humidity (as it happens with swimmers)

Topical application of disinfecting substances

  • Alcohol
  • Acetic acid
  • Hydrogen peroxide

Excess earwax removal

  • This should be done by a specialist, in his office, with specialized instruments

Home remedies

These are the most common home remedies for itchy ears:

White vinegar

  • The white vinegar can be mixed with water or disinfecting alcohol
  • The solution should be put in the ear with a dropper
  • It should be kept in the ear for a brief amount of time and then drained out of the ear

Water/mineral oil/disinfecting alcohol

  • This should be introduced in the ear with the aid of a bulb syringe
  • It is helpful for getting insects out of the ear, as it practically flushes the insect out of there

Warm water

  • Fill a bottle with warm water and place it on your ear
  • This will help you moisten the excess wax and it will make removal easier, relieving the itchiness

Olive oil

  • Use a dropper to put olive oil in your ear (two or three drops are enough, make sure you control the quantity)
  • For the best results, apply the drops at least three times a day
  • In case of bacterial infection, mix olive oil with garlic. Garlic is well recognized for its antibacterial properties

Other types of oil (sunflower seed, coconut oil, mustard oil)

  • The application is recommended to be made with the aid of a dropper as well
  • Helps moisten the ear wax, while lubricating the inside of the ear
  • Reduces the itchiness experienced in the area

Garlic

  • Can be used on its own as an effective remedy for itchy ears, solving infections efficiently thanks to its antibacterial properties.
  • For the best results, it is recommended that you insert half a clove of garlic into each ear
  • Maintain the application for a brief period of time, then take the clove of garlic out
  • Apply garlic in the morning and at night.

 


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