Last Modified on Jan 09, 2014
Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Itchy Ears
Frequently the minutest symptoms are the most perplexing and frustrating. Itchy ears constitute an example of a minute problem than can cause extreme discomfort and even inner ear pain. Nonetheless, itchy ears are relatively common and can arise as the result of several factors. Identifying the exact cause of the issue is important to be able to effectively treat the issue.
While the associated symptoms of itchy ears may vary by individual, several common symptoms usually present in any individual. Common symptoms include constant or persistent itch inside or surround the ear canal, inner ear pain or discomfort and discharge from the ear. Some more severe cases may also involve inflammation of the ear and an adverse effect on the individual’s hearing.
It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of itchy ears; however, many common causes have been identified. The five most common causes of itchy ears include abnormal wax production, allergies, fungal infection, skin conditions and bugs. Both the overproduction and underproduction of wax can cause itchy ears. Likewise, seasonal allergies can cause itchy ear canals much the same way as a histamine release causes irritated, watery eyes. Fungal infections typically occur in individuals who are swimmers or who frequently expose their ears to water while skin conditions can affect anyone who is prone to recurrent skin irritation.
Itchy Ear Remedies
Most issues will clear up without medical intervention. Nonetheless, treatment of itchy ears often hinges on curing the underlying cause of the issue. Many itchy ear issues can be cleared using hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or vinegar. Additional options include garlic-infused olive oil as an antibiotic drop, tea tree oil or even olive oil applied to the site of irritation. Keep reading below to discover what home remedies Earth Clinic readers have used to cure itchy ears!
Diluted Bleach in Water
[YEA] 06/22/2013: Corieltauvus from Whangarei, Northland New Zealand: "Have had itchy ears for a long time and though all the usual natural rememdies seemed to work for a few hours, none was long lasting.
Finally, in frustration I added about 10 drops of bleach (sodium hypochlorate) to a 250 ml wine glass of water and swabbed my ears with a cotton bud moistened with the solution. Eureka! At last I have had no itch for days on end.
Because I have no idea if sodium hypochlorate can have side problems I kept the solution weak and did not insert drops of the liquid into my ear. Maybe you should try 5 drops per 250 ml first, and increase drop by drop until you get an effect. Don't be tempted to use a very high strength until we have an opinion on any side effects. By the way... Don't forget that bleach bleaches! Leaks may bleach your favourite black satin pillow or your shirt. I suggest you plug your ears with cotton balls until the remedy dries."
[YEA] 07/10/2006: Rita from Hunstville, AL: "Hi, I just wanted to comment that I personally use hydrogen peroxide each and every day to help clean my ears with a Q-tip. This actually helps to combat itchy ears and less wax buildup."Replies
[YEA] 05/10/2012: Elizabeth from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "Peroxide works great! For some reason my right ear often itches and the peroxide goes deeper into the ear so it's better than using alcohol and a Q-tip because that will only push the wax further back while the peroxide drains it out."
06/10/2012: Midwestmad from Rochester, Minnesota, Usa replies: "Does anyone know if this can be used if your eardrum is perforated? I had a tube in my ear for many years. It was supposed to come out after something like 10 years but it didn't and now it won't close. It isn't so bad, but I would love to treat this itchiness! I'm working on cleaning up my whole system, but it is a slow process."
09/22/2012: Anonymouscat from Seattle, Wa replies: "i have itchy ears and use 50/50 distilled water and hydrogen peroxide. When it started up again I insisted my doctor do a swab and send it to the lab, because I want it to be indentified Also if is in your ears it is most likely in your sinuses."
Tea Tree Oil, Olive Oil, Garlic or ACV
08/16/2013: Dv from Israel: "Tea tree oil, olive oil, garlic, Apple Cider Vinegar are all great for ear issues. You may drip Tea tree oil in ear, or warm some olive oil with garlic, strain so there are no pieces and it is antiseptic and calming. Diluted ACV may also be helpful in cases since it is antiseptic and with olive oil which soothes it should be a good combination. When the ear is preforated to the best of my knowledge you are not to use peroxide and be careful to not put something not sterile in ear which could cause major infection."
Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol
[YEA] 02/07/2010: Carrie from Denver, Colorado, Usa: "I've had itchy ears due to fungal infections for years. I made a mixture of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% rubbing alcohol and placed in a dropper. I drop this remedy in my ears every morning after showering, and in the evenings before bed. I have had a significant decrease in itchy ears. The alcohol keeps the ear canal dry and the vinegar creates an acetic acid barrier that inhibits the growth of yeasts or fungi. Highly recommended."Replies
[YEA] 06/26/2012: Anonymous from Ca, San Diego replies: "I took round of antibiotics afterwards I had itching in inner ears I tried 50/50 Apple cider Vinegar with rubbing alcohol I let it sit in my ear for maybe 20 minutes let it drain all the itching stopped. WOW"
[YEA] 01/13/2010: Felirose from Destin, Florida: "My grandmother had very itchy ears for the longest time. She spent hundreds of dollars on medication, but nothing helped. Finally, she heard about using a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and rubbing alcohol (so perhaps 1 tsp of vinegar and 1 of rubbing alcohol. She used white vinegar, but I'm sure ACV would work just as well).
Desperate, she filled up an ear with an eyedropper and let it do it's thing for about an hour, while she laid down and watched television. Then, she turned over and let it drain out onto a white towel for another hour.
The white towel was covered in black "stuff" - that were in her ears! She did it on both ears twice, and hasn't had itchy ears since!
I've used this when I have itchy ears - though I've never had black drainage, thank God! It works every time to stop the itching."
[YEA] 06/24/2011: Susan from Sarnia, Ontario Canada replies: "CANDIDA
It took me many years to discover this, but after going on a drastic anti-candida diet, which included completely removing sugar from my diet, my itchy ear problem completely resolved. I spent most of my life suffering from itchy and flaking ear canals. Now, if I slip off the wagon and eat sugar for a couple of days, the problem returns."
06/25/2011: Lp from Houston, Texas replies: "I agree, I stop drinking sweet tea and cut back on soft drinks and my ears cleared up. Also the eczema on my hands started to clear up as well, I thought I was the only person with this problem. I glad to see your post. Thanks for sharing."
06/25/2011: Elly from Topeka, Kansas replies: "Thanks Alain for the clarification and thanks Debbie for reminding me about the colloidal silver and the link. I will research it and pass on to mom."