ZocdocAnswersWhat makes my ears so itchy?

Question

What makes my ears so itchy?

I have a horrible itch in my ears. I'm a woman, age 33, and the itch has been coming and going for about 6 months now, but for the last week it's been really overwhelming. Why is this happening?

Answer

There are a few possible causes of this itch that you have in your ear. The first would be that your ear canal is becoming clogged with ear wax. Ear wax is a normal substance secreted by glands in the ear canal which serves to protect the canal, but sometimes the wax builds up to much. This can impair hearing, but it can also cause a sensation of fullness or discomfort and itching inside the ear. Your primary care doctor will be able to tell you if this is the problem after a quick physical examination and can prescribe some drops to clear the ear out or my clean it for you in the office. You should avoid cleaning the ear yourself with cotton swabs, as this can damage the ear drum. The second most likely cause of the itch is otitis externa. This is an infection of the external ear canal, popularly called 'swimmers ear' although it occurs not just in swimmers! Often there is itching and pain of the ear canal and usually there is a certain amount of drainage from the ear. In addition to keeping the opening of the ear canal clean, your primary care doctor will likely advise some prescription ear drops.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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