The ear has an internal and external region that is separated by the eardrum. There are various conditions that can trigger irritation and itchiness to either region of the ear canal. It is important to note that some of these conditions include allergies, excessive buildup of ear wax, insects, eczema, swimmer’s ear and middle ear infections. The treatment options for ear itching usually depend on the condition that is causing the discomfort.
Removal of ear wax
The ear naturally produces ear wax as a way to protect the skin in the external ear as well as helping trap bacteria that have the potential to cause infections. The accumulation of excess ear wax in the ear canal can lead to ear itching.
The removal of ear wax can involve the use of detergent soaps such as hydrogen peroxide or using a softening agent such as baby oil in helping with the removal. The use of warm water can also help in irrigating the excess ear wax. The doctor might be required to remove compacted earwax using a specialized tool called as curette. The use of cotton-tipped swabs and products such as an ear candle is not recommended. The removal of ear wax from the affected ear can also increase the risk of ear itching since one of the functions of ear wax is to coat the ear canal and protect the skin from irritation.
If oil is used, 1-2 drops of baby oil or olive oil can soothe the outer ear canal and relieve the itchiness. Take note that the oil should be applied in the ear while the individual is lying down with the affected ear facing up so that the oil can coat the surface easily.
Removal of an insect
There are some cases in which an insect can enter the external ear canal and cause discomfort and ear itching. The main objective is to remove the insect from the ear by irrigating the ear canal so that the insect will float out of the ear. In case water does not work in removing the insect, you can use mineral oil or rubbing alcohol. If you want to learn how to remove insects and foreign objects in the ears, click here.
There are also oral medications and antibiotic ear drops that can be used to alleviate ear itching. It is important to note that a middle ear infection would require the administration of oral antibiotics in order to clear up the infection. As for swimmer’s ear or infection in the exterior ear canal, it would require medicated drops.
For the ear itching triggered by allergies, antihistamine medications are given to help treat the condition and relieve the discomfort. Antihistamines are available over-the-counter and as prescription, depending on the severity of the allergy. Steroidal creams can be applied to the ear when eczema occurs to help treat the ear itching due to this condition.