7 causes of constant itching in ear

Is a sensation of itching deep inside your ear causing a lot of discomfort? Maybe it is a result of overcleaning. Know 7 causes of constant itching in ear.

Do you find yourself constantly scratching your ear? The sensation can be relentless, driving you to grab a cotton swab to get rid of it. However, no matter the cause of your itchy ear, it is not a good idea to stick any object inside your ear to clean the earwax. In fact, this habit can be dangerous, and can potentially push earwax deeper, leading to further complications. Instead, understanding the causes behind the constant itching is crucial. Constant itching in the ear could stem from allergies, skin conditions, or even excessive earwax buildup.

7 causes of constant itching in the ear

Health Shots got in touch with ENT specialist Dr Abhinit Kumar, who spilled the beans on the cause of constant itching in the ear:

1. Cleaning your ear too much

When you clean your ears too frequently or aggressively, you may inadvertently remove the protective layer of earwax and natural oil. According to Dr Kumar, “Earwax is waterproof and helps protect your ear because it has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help prevent infection.” Removing the earwax frequently may remove the protective layer, increasing the risk of overproduction of earwax to compensate for the lost protection that can lead to itching.

tips to clean ear wax
Avoid using a cotton swab to remove ear wax. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Earwax blockage

The ear produces earwax to help keep the ear clean, maintain lubrication, and protect it from infection. But when you use a cotton swab, fingers, a twisted cloth, or a bobby pin to clean your ear, it can actually push earwax farther back, causing a blockage. This can cause discomfort, pain, impaired hearing, and the sensation of fullness in your ear which can be uncomfortable.

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3. Dry ears

Dryness in the ear canal can lead to discomfort and sensation, increasing the need to clean the ears frequently. Various factors, such as low humidity levels, excessive exposure to water during swimming or bathing, or certain medical conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, can result in ear dryness. Seek medical care if it is causing a lot of discomfort.

4. Skin allergies

Allergic reactions to substances such as certain metals (earrings) and hair products such as shampoo and hair spray can cause itching, redness, and inflammation in the ears. “To get rid of itching, if you engage in cleaning your ear using a cotton swab, this may cause more harm, disrupting the skin’s natural barrier function and exacerbating allergic reactions,” explains Dr Kumar.

5. Ear infection

Ear infections, whether bacterial or fungal, can cause irritation, itching, and discharge in the ear canal. If you feel pain and discharge coming out of your ear, you must immediately check with your doctor because these signs can even harm or damage your hearing. Also, if you wear hearing aids or earbuds, make sure you clean them regularly.

6. Skin conditions

Chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can affect the skin’s protective layer, causing itching, flaking, and inflammation. While you may treat simple itching with ear drops, if the symptoms are the result of any skin condition, they need immediate medical attention.

a woman with a skin rash
Skin conditions like eczema can cause irritation and itching. Image courtesy: Freepik

7. Food allergies

Food allergies, such as hay fever or a pollen allergy, can cause itching and redness when you eat foods such as apples, melons, bananas, cherries, kiwis, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and almonds. In some cases, people may experience symptoms within the ear canal, which are more prevalent during monsoon season.

How to get rid of constant itching in your ear?

To alleviate constant itching in the ear, keep these 5 tips in mind:

  • Avoid inserting objects into the ear canal, as this can exacerbate the irritation or cause injury.
  • Try gently cleaning the outer ear with a damp cloth only.
  • Over-the-counter ear drops containing ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or olive oil may help soften earwax and soothe irritation.
  • Avoid scratching the ear, as this can lead to further irritation or infection.
  • If the itching persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain or discharge, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

If your symptoms get worse, check with your doctor to determine the underlying cause of itching!