Are you troubled by Itchy Ears?
Although a common ailment, Itchy ears can get really frustrating and distracting once a person is assailed by it. It is really irritating since there seems to be no long term escape from it for the person who is experiencing it. All the person do is to find temporary relief by scratching or probing the ears with fingers or Q-tips. Even though it may alleviate the discomfort for the time being, in the long run, the method may prove dangerous.
Nevertheless, it’s important that you do not let this inconvenience overtake you. Fortunately, there are many other safe and useful ways to make your ear canals irritation and itch-free.
In this article we will explore some of the better remedies for treating your itch as well as some other preventive measures you can take to make sure that you do not get bogged down by this same problem again.
What is an Itchy Canal?
An itchy ear is commonly caused by the inflamed or flaky skin which occurs when the sensitive skin within the ear is waterlogged, becomes damaged or get infected with fungus or bacteria. The medical term used for this condition is Otitis Externa. Besides itching, the affliction may also cause soreness, dry skin, pain and even a watery discharge which is accompanied by an odor.
But there is no need to worry if you find yourself afflicted by the condition. Itchy ears is a common complaint and there is no threat to your sense of hearing whatsoever. However, constant scratching will only aggravate the inflammation and will only increase the irritation. Moreover, your eardrum can become seriously damaged if you end up rupturing it or packing the earwax against it.
But the biggest threat is derived from the different objects that you use to scratch inside your ear. Scratching can not only potentially transport harmful bacteria inside your ears but can also inflame the already sensitive skin, causing even more irritation.
But no matter what course of action you follow to alleviate this discomfort, it is very important to make yourself acquainted with the different causes of this condition. This will not only help you identify the problem in the first place but will also help to find suitable remedy to treat it.
What is the reason for Itchy Ears?
There might be many reasons for that frustrating itch in your ear. Below-mentioned are some of the main reasons why your ear canal is giving you a problem.
- Fungal Infection: If you remain susceptible to fungus infections in other parts of your body such as the feet and the groin area, then it is possible that you may develop the same in your ear canal as well. Thus, you must check with your doctor about this possible cause and find the suitable treatment for the same.
- Weather Condition: A significant reason for developing irritation in your ear can be the prevailing weather conditions. If the weather around you is hot and humid, then chances are high that you may develop itching in your ear. The increased moisture in the air is a major cause for fungal infections and humid weather is just the right pre-condition for evolving the same.
- Skin Condition: If you are afflicted with other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, then unfortunately, there is a high probability of developing the same in your ear canal as well.
- Swimming: Swimming can be one of the major causes for itchy ears. The water in the swimming pool is a significant source of germs and bacteria which can then find their way into the ear canal and cause infection. This is especially true if the skin inside the ear is damaged or broken. Moreover, swimming also causes excess moisture to accumulate inside the ears which can even cause eczema.
- Q-tips or Cotton Buds: Using Q-tips or cotton buds is one of the most popular ways used by people around the world to clean their ears. However, this can be really dangerous, especially when it can potentially damage the soft skin inside the ear. It must be noted that ears have their own self-servings ways to clean themselves. If, however, a need arises to clean the ear off wax, then there are more productive and safer methods to do the same. Moreover, it is more likely for bacteria to invade into ear canal by using Q-tips or any other similar method.
- Allergies: If you frequently suffer from allergies such as those from pets, pollen or dust particles then the histamine, which is released in reaction to an allergen may also trigger an itch in your ear canal.
- Hair or Bath Products: Itchy ears can also be caused by frequently using products such as shower gel, hairspray, bubble bath, hair gel, styling gel, shampoo and dye etc. The residue, that is leftover from these products can find their way inside the ear through ear canal and easily cause irritation leading to itching.
How to Treat Itchy Ears
In most cases, an itchy ear canal or an outer ear infection usually gets treated by itself. However if the problem persists or gets prolonged, then it becomes important to take action.
The best way to treat an itchy ear is to think about the strategy to tackle it. One must think, for example:
- How the problem should be treated, and
- How it should be prevented in the future.
[Read more on effective ENT treatment in India]
Treatment for Itchy Ears: Cleaning your Ears
The procedure for cleaning the ear falls into two stages;
- Stopping the itch, and
- Treating the infection or the skin condition.
The first step towards the treatment should be that an afflicted person must consult a doctor. The doctor will first of all clean the ear and if necessary prescribe ear drops. Moreover, the doctor may also take a swab of the ear canal to check for any fungal infection. The result for the fungal infection from the swab may take some days to arrive.
- Ear drops usually contain a combination of two active ingredients
- Hydrocortisone-that quells the itching as well as any associated swelling.
- An Antibiotic-that kills the bacteria causing infection.
- Your doctor may also suggest anti-fungal drops or an ointment if the presence of any fungal infection is found.
- Preventive measures goes parallel along with your treatment. It is equally important that you take all the precautionary measures to prevent the itch from returning as you are undergoing the treatment with ear drops and ointments. The more you follow these measures even after the treatment, the more probability it is to keep your ear-canal irritation free.
However, it is highly recommended that one should not be overly dependent on these pharmaceutical measures for preventing the infection. These pharmaceutical products, although being highly effective are nevertheless harsh for the sensitive skin inside the ear. Thus, one should quickly switch to natural methods once the course with artificial means is over.
Home Remedies for Treating Itchy Ears
Mild to moderate ear infections can be easily treated with home remedies. Thus, one should always endeavor to try these over prescription drugs if the infection seems easily treatable.
- Rubbing Alcohol and White Vinegar: An effective method is to use a solution, prepared by one part alcohol and one part white vinegar and then using a pipette, a dipper or a teaspoon to run the solution down to your ear canal by tilting your head. Now keep this solution inside your ear for some time before draining it out on the towel by again tilting your head. The solution is pretty efficient as the alcohol and the acetic acid in the vinegar not only work on the infection but also cleans out the ear canal. However, the experts suggest against overusing the method as it can dry out the canal. Thus, the best practice is to use it only once or twice a day till the infection has been completely cleared off.
- Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Garlic Oil
Olive Oil and Coconut Oil are great natural healers and if mixed with garlic can become a wonderful antibiotic and an anti-fungal solution. These natural remedies can be easily made at home or one can also purchase them readymade from some nearby shop.
Ways to Prevent Itchy Ears
Itchy Ears can be easily prevented if proper precautions are taken. The following list mention some measures which should be taken so as to keep the problem of itchy ears at bay.
- Prevent Excess liquid from entering: This can be done by placing a soft cotton ball at the entrance of your ears while one is in shower or taking bath. This prevents any excess liquid as well as any product residues from entering your ear. However, avoid pushing the cotton too deep inside your ear or avoid using it completely if it irritates your skin.
- Use Olive Oil in your ears: Olive oil can be a great cleanser and moisturizer for your ear canal. If you want to prevent too much of the wax buildup, simply take a small amount of olive oil in a teaspoon and pour it through the ear canal by tilting your head. Let it remain there for some time and then pour it back by tilting your head in the opposite direction. You can repeat the same process for the other ear. Repeat this exercise two or three nights every week to keep your ear canal smooth and properly moisturized.
- Drain Earwax: If the hack with olive oil doesn’t work and if you feel there is excess wax buildup in your ear then visit your doctor regularly to get it drained. Also you can purchase wax softening ear drops from your local chemist, however, these must not be used very often.
- Get a Swimming headband: Using a swimming headband before jumping into the pool is a great way to prevent bacteria from entering your ear and also avoid fungal infection. If the water has entered your ear somehow then drain it out by tilting your head to one side. You can also use a hair dryer placed at suitable distance from your ear to dry out the water. However avoid using the same if the skin inside your hair is damaged or broken.
- Be careful with hearing aids or ear plugs
If you use hearing aids then it is a good idea to wait for your ear canals to get dry after shower, before you put them on again. Follow the same precaution when putting on ear plugs of any kind. Even though difficult, try to keep away from wearing hearing aids altogether till the infection or the itch in the ear has been completely subsided.
- Protect your ears inside shower or bath: This very important, especially when using different hair products such as shampoos as their residue can easily enter the inner ear through the canal. It definitely helps a lot to adopt some preventive measures to keep products such as shampoos, hair gels, hair sprays, bubble bath and other chemical irritants away from the access of your ears.
- Control your allergies: If you suffer from allergies of any sort such as those from dust, pollen or from any other source, then it is important for you to reduce their exposure to them. Take anti-histamine medications, if necessary and keep your surroundings hygienic and clean.
- Be gentle with your ears: This should be always kept in mind that skin inside your ears is soft and delicate. Thus, it is imperative that you do should not put any hard objects inside your ear to prevent any damage or wound. Always be gentle with your ears and tend to any problem with care.
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