If you’re asking yourself ‘why do my ears itch’ then you have come to the right place. An itchy ear canal (the tube that connects your outer ear to your eardrum) happens to people of all ages. How you can get relief will depend on what’s making you scratch. No matter the cause of your itch, it’s never a good idea to stick any objects in your ears. You could cause an earwax blockage, injure your eardrum, or even worse, do damage to your inner ear.

Why does my ear itch? Possible causes

Complaints that my ears are itchy are a common problem. One  common cause of ear itch is earwax buildup. Wax is your body’s way of cleaning dead skin cells and dirt out of your ears, but too much of it can make them itch. Like we said above, don’t be tempted to try to remove the buildup with a cotton swab. That will likely push the wax deeper inside, where it can get stuck. Instead, try cleaning out the wax using a digital otoscope like the ones made by ScopeAround. Digital otoscopes are safer because they give you a first-hand view of your ear canal while you are cleaning it so you can see where the wax is and also avoid touching your sensitive eardrum.

But don’t overdo ear cleaning. Ears can also get itchy if they don’t have enough wax inside them.

Itchy ears can sometimes be a sign of an ear infection. Bacteria and viruses can cause infections, usually when you have a cold, the flu, or allergies. Swimmer’s ear is a type of ear infection that can happen when water stays in your ear after you swim. Too much moisture wears away your ear canal’s natural layer of defense against germs, and then you get an infection. 

To stop the itch, you’ll need to treat the infection. If you think you have an infection you should see a doctor to determine if it’s bacterial or viral and then they can properly treat the problem.

The skin inside your ears can itch because of an allergic reaction. Some beauty products like hair spray or shampoo can cause allergic reactions as well as products that have nickel in them, like earrings. Plastic, rubber, or metal that you put inside your ears, like earbuds or a hearing aid, can also cause a rash called contact dermatitis.

To get relief, you’ll need to figure out what you’re allergic to and stop using it. Until then, your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream to stop your urge to scratch. If you have contact dermatitis eczema or psoriasis, you may be prone to itchy ear canals. You can usually treat these problems with ear drops. In severe cases, you may also need to take steroid pills. 

Ironically, putting cotton swabs into your ears can inflame your ear canal and make your eardrum itchy. Bobby pins, paper clips, matchsticks, and your fingers can also scratch the skin inside your ears, making it easy for bacteria to enter and cause an infection.

If you have hay fever or a pollen allergy, your ears may itch when you eat certain fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts. Known as oral allergy syndrome, you may notice this most during allergy season. The prickly feeling in your ears should stop as soon as you swallow the food or take it out of your mouth. In most cases, you don’t need treatment. Still, speak to your doctor. She may test you to see how severe your allergy is. People with extreme food allergies may need to carry an epinephrine auto-injector..

What are some remedies for itchy ears?

Now you may know the answer to why does my ear itch, but here is a list of possible solutions to the problem. Itchy eardrums are usually a mild problem that either goes away on its own or can be treated with at-home remedies. However, there are a few instances where a visit to the doctor is necessary.

If the itch is caused by skin dryness, try putting a few drops of olive oil or baby oil in the ear canal. A drop of oil can also help relieve itchiness due to hearing aids, however the oil should not touch the hearing aid, so it is best to apply the drops before going to bed.

People should also ensure they get their hearing aid correctly fitted for their ear, as an ill-fitting hearing aid can cause irritation. A doctor can also help determine if a person is having an allergic reaction to their hearing aid.

If earwax is the problem, then it may need to be cleaned out and the best way to do so is using a digital otoscope like the ones made by ScopeAround. Digital otoscopes are safer because they give you a first-hand view of your ear canal while you are cleaning it so you can see where the wax is and also avoid touching your sensitive eardrum. If the earwax blockage is impacted you still may need to see a doctor.

Topical medications can treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis, but you will probably need to see a doctor and ask them why is my ear itchy?

Swimmer’s ear can sometimes be relieved by applying drops of a mildly acidic solution consisting of half rubbing alcohol and half vinegar. This can help to dry out excess water in the ear. If this does not work, or if people have another type of ear infection, prescription ear drops or antibiotics may be necessary.

Allergies are tricky to properly diagnose and usually require the help of a specialist so if none of these home remedies are helping then you should consult with a physician and get professional help. 

Why cleaning your ears regularly can help prevent itchy ears

Although there can be a number of causes of itchy ears, the most common cause is a build up of ear wax. Cleaning your ear canals regularly will prevent this build up and reduce the itch. Do keep in mind that over-cleaning your ears can also cause itchiness so don’t over-clean them.

Purchase a ScopeAround Otoscope today!

If you frequently have itchy ears or ear wax build up then it might be a good idea to buy an ear wax removal camera. A home otoscope inspection can tell how often you should clean out your ear canal.

ScopeAround was the first company to make an ear inspection camera for consumer use and they have the most experience and customer feedback manufacturing these devices.

ScopeAround makes ear cleaning cameras that are stand-alone devices as well as ones that are compatible with iPhone (iOS) and Android mobile devices as well as PC (Windows) or Mac (OSX) computers.

Shop ScopeAround otoscope cameras today!