Are your ears itchy? Are you constantly scratching your ears?
Itchy ears can cause great frustration. It can be very distracting, and in worse cases can be debilitating. Often when people get itchy ears, there is a tendency to use anything they can get their hands on to deal with the itch. This could be a cotton bud, pen cap or even a paper clip! Whilst it is understandable to want to scratch your ear, by doing so makes the problem worse! The ideal solution is to identify what could be the cause of your itchy ears, and get the most appropriate treatment for it.
There could be wax.
Even the tiniest amount of wax on the ear drum could cause these unpleasant sensations. Sometimes there’s wax hidden behind one of the bends in the ear canal. This is often not viewable using an otoscope (the hand-held tool typically used by the GP). It is worth having your ear checked under microscope by a qualified audiologist.
Dry skin in the ears
If you suffer from dermatitis, eczema or other skin conditions .. it’s no surprise that dry skin could be irritating your ears. Seeking professional advice from an audiologist on how to manage this, or a referral to a dermatologist could be useful. Dry skin loose in the ear canal should also be removed regularly to avoid it causing any itchiness or hearing impairment.
If there is discharge or a foul smell coming from your ear, this could be a clear sign of an infection. Fungal and bacterial infections are most common when people have been in humid environments, or if they are regular users of headphones, ear plugs or hearing aids. Sometimes, signs of an infection e.g. inflammation, can only be seen when your ear is looked at under microscope.
Remember that the skin around the ear canal is very delicate. It is lined with a layer of wax to prevent the skin from drying out (causing itchiness) and protects the ear from bacteria. So, if you use a cotton bud to remove that protective layer, it can result in more itchiness and also increase your risk of developing ear infections.