There are many potential causes for an itchy ear. Until you figure out what’s triggering your symptoms, you won’t know what the best course of treatment is. While talking to your ear, nose and throat physician (otolaryngologist) is the best way to get to the bottom of it, below is a guide to help you narrow down what the problem might be.
One possible cause of an itchy ear is an ear infection. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, earwax buildup or trapped water. Children are especially susceptible to ear infections because their Eustachian tubes are not fully developed and do not drain well.
Another possible cause is dry ear. The ear naturally produces oil and earwax to keep the ear canal moisturized and healthy. Overcleaning the ear can remove these essential substances and dry out the skin. Some people, however, naturally do not produce enough earwax and have chronically dry ears; they may notice flakes of skin around the ear.
Food allergies are linked to skin conditions like a rash or hives, in addition to itchy ear. Common food allergens include nuts, milk, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
Oral allergy syndrome is a specific type of allergic reaction related to how certain foods pollenate and typically results in symptoms around the mouth, but also sometimes the ears. Foods that commonly cause symptoms of oral allergy syndrome include apples, melons, cherries, kiwi, bananas, sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts.
Earwax blockage can happen when you insert a cotton swab or other item into the ear canal to clean it. This results in trapped bacteria and sometimes infection, but often the result is an itchy, plugged up ear.
The plastic coating on hearing aids and other types of earmolds can affect some people who have sensitive skin. In addition, water can become trapped behind the hearing aid and cause an itchy ear.
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis can cause an itchy ear due to the release of the histamine when exposed to an allergen. Other symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, headache, sneezing and congestion.
These are just a few of the possible causes of an itchy ear. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Pinnacle ENT Associates today!