Quite frankly, itchy ears can be one of the most annoying things. If the ears are itching all day long you can’t concentrate, you are constantly aware of this feeling and in public, you feel conscious not to scratch too much. Sometimes it takes weeks to get relief.
But what causes itchy ears in the first place?
There are some very common reasons for itchy ears. Here the top 5 from our experience of over 17 years in hearing care:
Number 5: Ill-fitting Hearing Aids
If hearing aids are fitted with generic domes rather than custom made ear moulds they do not have a defined position in the ear. When chewing or even speaking the jaw moves the ear canal slightly. This tiny movement can cause an ill-fitting hearing aid to move back and forth constantly which irritates the ear canal – sometimes so much that a wearer needs to remove the device to get relief. But then they cannot hear as well anymore. A professionally fitted hearing aid with a custom mould can fix this issue for good.
Number 4: Infections
Itchy ears can also be a sign of an infection. This can be a fungus infection or even the beginning of an otitis externa – a bacterial infection of the outer ear canal. In some cases, it may also be an otitis media – an infection of the middle ear which often causes pain and sometimes discharge. If there is even a mild suspicion of an infection a visit to the doctor is strongly recommended and home remedies should be avoided!
Number 3: Allergies
People with food allergies or hay fever can often experience itchy ears based on the season or the foods they consume. Mild food allergies can often affect the feeling in the ear canals severely. And sometimes they are just so terribly itchy that all sorts of ‘equipment’ find their way into the ear canals. We have seen people scratch their ears with car keys – we have also seen the damage it can cause. Just saying – a visit to the doctor to investigate a possible allergy is much better than scratching ears with a car key!
Number 2: Skin Conditions
Eczema, dermatitis or dry skin can cause itchiness in the ear canals. Quite often the skin can flake off and rashes develop in and around the ears. In some cases, these may be stress-related or part of a person’s general skin health. Soothing creams or even olive oil can help to relieve the symptoms. Ointments or drops can, dependent on the condition, get rid of the core issue of the itchiness.
Number 1: Ear Wax
The absolute number one reason for itchy ears we come across is a partial blockage of the ear canal with cerumen – ear wax. Flaky or gluey – if the ear wax is attached to the ear canal wall it often causes an itch that cannot be relieved by just scratching the ears. The wax must come out to settle the feeling. Itchiness is the body telling you “something is not quite right – better check it out.”
If you suffer from itchy ears – its best to get it checked out by a hearing care professional or your local GP.