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Our ears are full of sensitive neurological fibres, so it is normal for the ears to itch once in a while. But, frequent itching of the ears is the sign of an underlying medical condition. In this article, we will write about the causes, symptoms and treatment of itchy ears.
What Are The Causes Of Itchy Ears?
1. Swimmer's ear
Swimmer's ear also called as otitis externa, is an infection that occurs in your ear canal. It happens when the ears retain water in them after swimming or bathing, creating a moist environment for the bacteria to breed or other particles to get trapped, causing an infection.
The best way to prevent it is by keeping the ears dry or gently drying the ears after bathing or swimming.
2. Build-up of ear wax
Most often we clean the wax from the ear, but surprisingly ear wax is good as it's the body's way of clearing the dead skin cells. It also prevents germs from entering the ear. However, too much ear wax can cause itchiness, earache, blocked ears, hearing loss, tinnitus, coughing, odour or discharge from the ears.
3. Ear itching when you swallow
Some people may experience an itchy feeling deep in the ear while swallowing food. It usually occurs when you have a sore throat, due to a cold virus, which goes away when the sore throat is cured.
4. Hearing aids
People who wear hearing aids all the time can suffer from itchy ears because they might be allergic to the plastic with which hearing aids are made. In this case, the hearing aids should be replaced with a different type of mould.
Also, hearing aids add pressure onto your delicate ears which may also cause the itchiness.
5. Skin problems
Skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, or seborrhoeic dermatitis and dryness can cause ear itching. Dryness of the ears can be treated with olive oil or baby oil. And other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are usually treated with steroids.
6. Certain food allergies
A hay fever or a pollen allergy may cause your ears to itch when you consume certain fruits, veggies or tree nuts, although it is limited to the consumption of uncooked fruits or vegetables. It is also known as oral allergy syndrome.
Symptoms Of Itchy Ears
If your ears are itching all the time, it could irritating and bothersome. Itchy ears are also accompanied by symptoms like drainage from the ear canal, swelling of the ear and fever.
When To See A Doctor?
If you experience severe bleeding or drainage from the ears, or you do not hear clearly, seek a doctor's help immediately.
Your doctor will ask about your medical history to identify the causes. He or she may also view excess earwax very close to the eardrum which can cause itching or may check for eczema-like patches.
How Are Itchy Ears Treated?
If allergies cause itchiness, refrain from using any products that cause irritation like earrings and personal care products. Also pay attention to certain foods which causes itchy ears.
Your physician may prescribe you medications such as antibiotic ointment, baby oil, steroid topical ointment for inflammation (hydrocortisone or betamethasone), swimmer's ear ear drops or a diluted solution of acetic acid, or hydrogen peroxide.
How To Prevent Itchy Ears?
Avoid cleaning your ears with objects like cotton balls and cotton swabs. Bobby pins and paper clips shouldn't be used as they are sharp objects and may cause bleeding.
You may also avoid wearing certain metallic jewellery that causes itching. After swimming, gently dry your ear with a dryer, if your earwax is excess go to an ENT and get your ears cleaned.
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