My Itchy Ears Are Driving Me Nuts

Woman with itchy ear putting a finger into her ear at office isolated white background

Have you ever had an itch that you just can’t scratch?

Okay–there are two ways to answer that question: First, you think about something you always wanted to do with your life but you never got around to (skydiving, for example). Or (if you’re a little less of a romantic) you think about that spot on your back that you just can’t quite reach.

That’s kind of a terrible experience, isn’t it? Having that itch and being desperate to scratch that spot on your back. (It’s why back-scratchers exist.)

Unfortunately, there’s no such device that can alleviate itching in your ears. That itching sensation is coming from inside your ear canal–someplace that you physically can’t reach (no matter how hard you try). It’s worse than that spot on your back–and it’s not surprising that itchy ears are probably driving you nuts.

Itchy ears can impact your everyday life

On the surface, it sounds like a minor thing. Itchy ears–it could be worse, right? At least your ears aren’t in pain or burning or on fire.

But think about it: There’s no relief for an itchy ear. If it happens once in a while, sure, it’s not that big of a deal. But what if your ears are always itchy? You could find yourself–and your quality of life–significantly impacted.

Maybe the sensation is so unpleasant that you stop eating out or seeing friends. Maybe you start listening to louder and louder music trying to drown out that itchy feeling.

It sucks. But there are solutions and treatments. Finding the best way to treat itchy ears means knowing what causes them in the first place.

So what causes your ears to itch?

So what’s causing that itch? And what can you do about it? The solution for itching ears is going to vary depending on the underlying cause. As with many other medical conditions, there are several possible underlying conditions that could be impacting your ears. Among the most common are the following:

  • Ear infections: Yup, the regular old ear infection might be the culprit behind your misery. Common in youth, ear infections can continue to strike at any time. And when they do, fluid can build up in your ears. At the same time, the tissues in your ears can begin to swell (thank you, inflammation). Combined, this can lead to trapped fluid, irritated tissue, and very itchy ears. The solution is to talk to your doctor and treat the underlying infection. Once that’s cleared up, your ears should stop itching.
  • Improper hearing aid fitting: Hearing aids are designed to fit snugly in your ears. That’s how you get the best sound and the most effective results. But when your hearing aids don’t fit properly, this snugness can quickly turn to irritation and itchiness. (This, in turn, can cause you to stop wearing your hearing aids as frequently–and that can be bad for your hearing.) The solution is to see your hearing specialist for a proper fitting. In some cases, hearing aids may even be custom molded to better fit your ears.
  • You have an earwax blockage: Look, it’s perfectly normal for your ears to produce a prodigious amount of wax. That’s because wax is good for your ears and (counterintuitively) helps keep them clean! But there are a number of reasons why blockages can form. (One reason is due to the use of cotton swabs to “clean” your ears–so if that’s happening, you should stop immediately.) At any rate, your hearing specialist should be able to clear up most earwax blockages. So making an appointment can help bring you some relief.
  • Skin disorders: Sometimes, a skin disorder can cause a reaction in places you can’t itch. (You can even end up with something called ear dandruff.) You should talk to your doctor about what your options are. (It’s not exactly easy to slather your ear canal with moisturizer, after all–nor would we ever suggest you try.) Again, your provider will be the best one to help you treat skin conditions that cause itchy ears!
  • Allergies: Allergies are tricky–and it’s not uncommon for them to cause itching. You can sometimes minimize your symptoms by taking an over-the-counter allergy medication, like an antihistamine. It can be hard to pin down, sometimes, exactly what you’re allergic to. But itchy ears can result from a wide variety of allergens, including pollen. So your spring fever could very easily translate into itchy ears. If the itching persists, you should talk to an allergist about finding a solution (and relief).

Finding a treatment for your itchy ears–and relief

Itchy ears can take the joy out of just about anything. Finding the right treatment–and getting lasting relief can be absolutely life changing. Often, these itchy ears will not go away on their own (and if they do, it’ll feel like it takes ages), so there’s no point in trying to wait it out–you’ll likely just prolong your suffering.

If you find that your itchy ears are driving you crazy, make an appointment with your hearing specialist so you can stop focusing on the itch–and get back to the normal, everyday activities you enjoy.

Stop the itching by searching providers near you.

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