Why Our Ears Get Itchy (Grrrrrr!!!)

Ears that itch (Photo credits: Lmg.letmeget.net)
Ears that itch (Photo credits: Lmg.letmeget.net)
Ears that itch   (Photo credits:     Lmg.letmeget.net)
Ears that itch (Photo credits: Lmg.letmeget.net)

We sometimes see dogs scratching their ears so aggressively.  And when we start to frequently feel itchy in the ears, too, it can make us wonder if we’ve got those ticks that itchy dogs might have, too!  Oh, no!  Please!

A lot of  people  I know,  two of my sons included, complain that their ears itch.   Such itchy times are most often due to irritations in the skin of the external auditory canal of our ears.

What do people with itchy ears usually do?

They try to reach into their ears with their little finger, scratching as far as it will go, but not really reaching that part which is really itchy.  So they wriggle that point finger in their ears instead, and we see the hand moving briskly up and down,p up and down.  Whew! That caused goose bumps! The ears got kind of ticklish while it still feels itchy.  Problem unsolved.

When no q-tip  or cotton bud is available, we see them hurriedly looking for a pencil or a pen, a matchstick…anything that might fit inside the ear.  Oh my!  Don’t ever do that!

So..what causes the damn itching?

  •  Ear Wax   –   Having too much and not having enough are to be blamed.  When you have too much, you may feel some ear fullness and have difficulty hearing with that ear.  On the other hand, if don’t have enough wax, your ear canal could become dry and irritated.
  • Allergies  –  seasonal allergies can bring about itchy ears.  It is also known as allergic rhinitis or hay fever, where some people are allergic to pollen from a variety of trees, grasses, and weeds
  • Bugs  –  Those tiny irritating bugs sometimes find their way into our ear canals, but can’t find their way out; ants, mosquitoes, fleas, etc. causing some buzzing and unusual sounds and sensations.
  • Fungal infections   –   more common in swimmers and in people who frequently expose their ears to water, such it is often referred to as “swimmer’s ear.”
  • Skin conditions – Having eczema, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis on your skin may  can also affect your ear canals. Psoriasis affecting ear canals can cause significant scaling and blockage that can reduce  your hearing.  Itching and irritation of your ear canals may also possibly be due to sensitivity to certain shampoo or hairsprays.  So watch what you use.

What to do:

  • Make sure to keep your  ears dry (from water, not ear wax).
  • Go visit a doctor for wax removal IF you’ve got too much ear wax.
  • Over-the-counter antihistamine when you have seasonal allergies.
  • Use an anti-fungal medication as the best treatment for fungal infections in your ear.
  • Professional irrigation of the canals affected by Psoriasis might be necessary.
  • For dry ears – A few drops of a vegetable oil such as olive oil every day or two may help keep the ear from getting too dry while also protecting it from water when you take your bath or shower.
  • For bug-visited ears, carefully irrigating the ear with warm water to drown it might help, but if you feel doubtful, it’s time to see your doctor.
  • Avoid aggressive cleaning, please!

Itchy ear canals can be truly be irritating and so bothersome, but remember to treat your ear canals as gently as possible.   Avoid  inserting anything into the ear canals to scratch the irritated area because you might  puncture your eardrum accidentally or cause infection to yourself.   If you’re going to a location where there are many flies and insects or trees, better take some ear coverings.  It’s better to be sure than itchy!

Web Sources:

http://voices.yahoo.com/five-common-causes-itchy-ear-canals-3646347.html?cat=5

http://www.dizziness-and-balance.com/disorders/symptoms/dry%20ears.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/itchy-ear/