Having an itch anywhere is irritating – but having itchy ears is close to unbearable for some. The spot is impossible to reach (and shouldn’t be attempted to), and since our ears are so complex, it can be hard to define what is causing it.
Itchy ears is a common thing – and there’s usually a straightforward solution. Here’s everything you should know about itchy ears and the causes.
Why Do My Ears Itch?
The two biggest reasons for itchy ears are too much cleaning and allergies.
Cleaning – Usually, the main cause of itchy ears is getting your ears cleaned up too well. Your ears should always have a little bit of earwax because it’s a good moisturizer, it helps catch dirt and dust before it goes to your eardrum, and it wards off bacterial and fungal infections in your ears.
But sometimes we get overzealous and want the feeling of having ear canals that are completely empty, and in our efforts, we dry out our ear canals. Then, just like our hands or anything else, if it’s too dry, it becomes itchy.
Allergies – Allergies can cause itchy ears quite a bit. Hay fever, ragweed and pollen allergies, and dermatitis can make everything feel itchy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the right allergy medicine to prevent this.
Psoriasis – A skin condition, this can be itchy and sore. Talk to your doctor about effective treatments.
Does Earwax Cause Itchy Ears?
Dry, flaky wax can cause itchy ears. If it’s more a wet wax, then no, it actually helps.
Can Hearing Aids Make Itchy Ears Worse?
Yes, hearing aids can make ears itchier. That’s why we stock a few lubricants that you can put on the edge of your hearing aids. The lubricants are safe for the hearing aids and safe for your ears.
Itchiness is mainly your body’s way of telling you that your ears don’t like having a hearing aid on them. It wants to produce more wax to stop the itching. It’s just like starting out with retainers or braces. Your mouth doesn’t like those things being in there, and that’s why you get a lot more saliva in your mouth all of a sudden.
Some people are allergic to the hearing aid materials. Fortunately, manufacturers make a hypoallergenic coating we can put on the hearing aids to hopefully stop that.
Are Itchy Ears Linked To An Underlying Hearing Problem?
A hearing problem won’t cause itchy ears.
If there’s a lot of dry, scaly wax in the ear and that’s what’s causing your itching, then there might be an issue with a rash or some type of infection in your ear, but it’s not very common.
What Should You NOT Do If You Have Itchy Ears?
DO NOT USE A Q-TIP. Don’t stick anything inside your ears. Other remedies work a lot better.
Cotton-swabbed sticks can push the wax farther into your ear canal, which then gets impacted and very difficult to remove. It can even end up with you poking a hole through your eardrum.
Never stick anything in your ear canal that could break the skin, as it can introduce infection. So, stay away from putting physical things in your ears.
What Can You Do To Relieve Itchy Ears?
If you’re not a hearing aid user,* you can put a few drops of edible oils — canola, vegetable, olive — in your ears. Coconut, not so much because it hardens but anything that’s a liquid oil.
Just put a few drops in your ears and then a cotton ball. After a few hours, rinse it out while you’re in the shower or in the bathtub. That helps moisturize it all.
There are some over-the-counter drops or lubricants you can get at a pharmacist, but again, talk to the pharmacist first because not everything’s right for everybody.
*The reason why I say not to use drops for hearing aid wearers is because they can clog up your hearing aids when you put them in.
When Is It A Good Time To Seek Help For Itchy Ears?
If you are a hearing aid wearer and your ears are itchy, then speak to one of our clinicians and we’ll recommend a safe lubricant or coating for the hearing aids.
If it gets to the point where it’s driving you crazy and you’ve tried a few things and it’s not working, please talk to your pharmacist or your doctor. If all else fails, mild steroid drops can help.
If it’s more related to earwax, please give us a call and we’ll take a look at your ears to see what you could do.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have about your itchy ears so we can come up with a solution that’ll give you the relief you need. Contact the location nearest you – Kitchener, Guelph, Simcoe, or Waterloo. We’re looking forward to helping you.