An itching ear canal can be annoying.  Even though your ears are small as compared to your arms or legs, they are loaded with highly sensitive neurological fibers. It is usually the reason why you often have to deal with them when they itch. Some people’s ears are relatively more sensitive, so they may have to deal with chronic itching. However, your itchy ears may also highlight another underlying condition. It is therefore important to understand the causes of itchy ears to determine how to correct this condition.

What Causes Itchy Ear Canal?

Itchy ear canal causes

Itchy ear canal

If you have an ear canal that is itchy, you will want to scratch it or you can feel irritated at some times. Before that, you should first identify what causes the condition. Some of the causes of this problem may involve the following:

Insufficient ear wax

You may have to deal with itching if your ears if they don’t produce enough earwax. This usually leads to dry ears and it may be noticed by flaking skin dropping out of your ears.

Ear Canal Dermatitis

This is a condition that involves the inflammation of the skin in and around your ear canal, and usually results from an allergic reaction. Most people face this situation when they use a beauty product that contains an ingredient they are allergic to; a reaction to the metals in earrings may also cause itchy ear canal dermatitis.

Ear Infection

An ear infection such as otitis media can cause severe pain and make your ears feel itchy. If you’re a swimmer, you’re more likely to experience this condition because the outer canal of your ear becomes infected, and the infection will causes swelling and redness.

The Use of Hearing Aid

Regular use of hearing aid will make water trapped in the ears. Sometimes, your ears will become allergic to the hearing aid itself – this is usually true with an ill-fitting hearing aid. All these issues will lead to itchy ears.


Often this is a common skin problem that usually produces a red rash on your skin. Although psoriasis usually occurs on visible parts of your body, it may also appear behind or inside the ears, which can cause itching.


If you have asthma, allergic rhinitis, or other allergy issues, you are more likely to develop an ear infection such as otitis externa. It is usually caused by a reaction to a foreign body being exposed to your ear, such as earplugs, ear medication, sweat, or shampoo. Your doctor may have to use an ear wick or a sponge to treat the infection.

Excessive Moisture

If you’re usually exposed to humid environments or swim in polluted water, you are more likely to develop an ear infection. Contaminated water can enter your ear canal and cause an infection. Sometimes, the excessive moisture will wash away earwax, leaving your ears dry and itchy. The itching will prompt scratching that will damage your skin and even infect your external canal as well.

Other Causes

Several other factors may also cause an itchy ear canal. This may include stress, medications, and extreme heat or cold. In rare cases, severe ear itching can be a symptom of a more serious and life-threatening condition, so it is important to set an appointment with your ENT specialist to rule out serious issues such as anaphylaxis.

My Ears Itch Deep Inside

Sometimes the insides of our ears get itchy or an itchy pain in the air—often simply called itchy ear canal, itching ears, or ear itching—and we don’t think much about it.

We might reach for a Q-tip or some other object like a bobby pin or a toothpick to get at the itch and scratch it away. But using anything inside our ears, even a cotton swab, can be dangerous and may cause more damage.

Any break in the skin can lead to bacteria getting in and causing an infection. The most common causes associated with itching in the ear are ear infections (either full-blown or just starting) or a fungus. Allergies can also cause itchy ears on the inside.

Reasons for an itchy ear canal include stress, medications, and extreme heat and cold. An itchy Eustachian tube can also be caused by the same things listed above.

Itchy Ears Meaning

There are superstitions for everything, even itchy ear superstitions. Apparently when you have an itchy outer ear or an itchy earlobe, it means that someone is talking about you. If your left ear is itching, it means someone you love is talking about you or someone in general is saying nice things about you. If your right ear is itching, it means the opposite. Apart from these fun superstitions, an itchy ear is definitely trying to tell you something, and the cause of it could likely be one of the reasons below.

Itchy ears or refers to the uncomfortable tickling, prickling, tingling or irritating sensation on your ears that makes one to want to scratch their ears. The itchiness is often on your outer ear i.e. itchy ear canal, ear lobe, behind your ears and at times on your middle ear.

The itching can be mild or severe, constant, affect one ear or both ears. Sometimes, you can have extremely or really itch ears that you will be tempted to stick objects into your ears to easy the itching. This is dangerous as it can cause trauma to your ear canal.

Itchy Ear Canal Causes

Itchy ear canal causes

Itchy and swollen ear canal

Do you have other symptoms that might occur with ear itching? Needless to say, it is important to know what is causing the itching. The most common and obvious cause of itchy ear canals is problems with wax. Both too much wax and not enough wax in the ear can cause the problem. You may experience ear fullness as well as irritation from having too much wax in the affected ear.

On the other hand, not producing enough ear wax can cause your ear canals dry and irritated. Itching that is sudden, severe, or unusual should be evaluated for a serious food allergy that can come on rapidly, with a strong need to scratch. Sudden itching can also be a sign of anaphylaxis that is considered a medical emergency. Itching can also be a symptom of ear infection, such as swimmer’s ear, which can occur in people who frequently expose their ears to water to allow fungus growth.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.

Itchy Inner Ear and Throat

Sore, itchy throat is one of the most common throat problems. If your throat itches, it is most likely that you will also have itching inside ear. The reason is that throat, ear and nasal passages are all connected from the inside. Therefore, a problem with any one of these organs also affects the functioning of the others. There are several causes for itchy inner ear and throat. In this article, you will also find some effective remedies to treat the same.

Causes inner itchy ear canal
Allergies are the prime cause of itchy throat and ears. There are several nerves which end in the throat. These nerves are protected under the mucus lining inside the throat. The lining of the throat is coated with mucus for smooth passage of food and other materials. Sometimes, the ends of the nerves get exposed due to dried mucus lining. As a result, allergens such as pollutants, certain foods irritate the nerve ends and cause itchy throat. The passage from throat to ears also itches due to same reason. Dairy products, peanuts are some common culprits for food allergies.

Dryness of the throat is mainly what causes itchy throat. Dehydration is common during fever or infections, which leads to drying up of mucus lining in the throat. As a result, you experience itching inside the throat. Dehydration also occurs as a side effect of certain medications or a result of excessive smoking, tobacco chewing etc. Besides, certain diseases such as AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes also cause dryness of mouth and throat.

other viral and bacterial functions lead to sore throat, which also itches at times. Bacteria called streptococcus is responsible for sore, strep throat. Viral infections usually manifest in the form of common cold and flu. Bacterial throat infections also contribute to the inflammation of the tonsils, larynx and pharynx.

Itchy Ears Home Remedy

For mild-to-moderate ear infections, especially those where pain is not a serious issue, you might want to try a home remedy before resorting to prescription drugs.

Rubbing alcohol and white vinegar

One common method involves mixing one part rubbing alcohol with one part white vinegar. Use a pipette, dipper, or teaspoon and let the solution run into your ear by tilting your head to the side. Keep it inside for a few seconds before letting it drain back out onto a paper towel.

The alcohol and acetic acid in the vinegar will go to work on the infection and also help to clean your ear. Don’t overuse this method because it can dry out the ear which will lead to more itching. Simply apply it once or twice a day until the infection has cleared.

Olive oil, coconut oil and garlic oil

Home remedies for itchy ear canal

Itchy ear remedies

Olive oil and coconut oil are also great natural alternatives to ear drops. Olive oil can even be infused with garlic for a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal solution.

Garlic infused oil is a popular choice in treating itchy and/or infected ears. Garlic is a natural antibiotic that also has antifungal properties. If you don’t want the hassle of making it yourself, you can pick up a bottle of Herb.

How to Relieve Itchy Ear Canal

You can relieve the itchy ear canal with some simple and effective remedies. After identifying the cause, you can try some proper remedies from the below options.

Use Warm Oil

Instead of inserting anything in your ear to relieve itching, you will be better off using a few drops of warm oil. You can make homemade drops by using olive oil, mineral oil, or vegetable oil. You can warm the oil simply by placing the jar into a warm glass of water for half an hour or less. Test those drops first on the inside of your wrist to ensure the oil is not too hot to burn your skin.

Try the Mixture of Alcohol and Water

You can relieve your itchy ear canal by squirting water mixed with alcohol. You may use an ear syringe or bulb syringe for this purpose. It is a good remedy because it helps flush out debris and eliminate any bugs in your ears. Be sure to drain the water after a few minutes – you can use the syringe to withdraw the fluid.

Remove Wax

Although wax is for protection, too much wax may cause itching and pain as well. Don’t insert anything in your ears to clear wax build-up. Simply lie on your side with your affected ear facing the roof. Now place hot washcloth or a warm water bottle over the ear. The heat will do the trick here and soften the wax. You may use cotton tipped swab to clear the softened wax.

Avoid Moisture

You need to keep your ears dry to alleviate itching. If you have to swim, you may consider wearing a swim cap. Use the same cap when taking showers. Using earplugs that usually have a coating of petroleum jelly is another good way of keeping your ears dry. You can sometimes use your hair dryer at a low temperature setting to keep your ears dry.

Use Peroxide to Remove Wax

You can consider using a peroxide rinse to loosen the earwax and eliminate itching. Simply pour some peroxide into the ear and let it stay there for a while. Now tilt your head to the other side to drain the solution.

More Tips to Soothe Itchy Ear Canal

  • Always try to get rid of any debris by swabbing with cotton wool.
  • Remove anything that causes an allergic reaction when touching your ear, such as earrings, earplugs, etc.
  • Take painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve your ear pain. Avoid ibuprofen if you have stomach or asthma problems. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure about anything.
  • Don’t go swimming until your ear infection has cleared completely.


Letting a couple drops of olive oil into your ears (and then back out onto a paper towel) may help prevent itchy ears in the future.

Take these precautions to lower the risk of developing an itchy canal again in future:

Prevent excess liquid from entering. When showering or taking a bath, gently place a small amount of clean cotton ball over the entrance to your ears to prevent excessive water and bathing products such as bubble bath from getting inside. Be careful not to push the cotton too deeply and avoid it completely if you find that it irritates your skin.

Purchase a swimming headband. If you go swimming, think about buying a swimming headband to keep your ears dry and free from the threat of fungus and bacteria. If you do get water inside your ear, try to drain it out by tilting your head to the side. As a last resort, you can use a hairdryer, providing you place it on the lowest setting and hold it about 50cm away from your ear. Do not use a hairdryer if the skin in your ear is broken or sore.

Use olive oil in your ears. Clean your ears and prevent wax build up by using a little olive oil. Simply tip a small amount of olive oil onto a spoon, tilt your head to one side and let the oil run into your ear. Let the oil settle in your ear for a few minutes then tilt your head back up and let the excess oil drain out onto a paper towel. Repeat the process with the other ear and do this on a regular basis – maybe two or three nights every week before going to bed. The oil will also help to moisturize your ear canals and sooth the skin.

Drain earwax. If you find that excess wax builds up inside your ears and the olive oil trick doesn’t work, visit your doctor regularly so he can drain the wax. You can also buy wax-softening ear drops from your drugstore or chemist, but use these sparingly.

Protect your ears in the shower or bath. This especially applies to products you use while showering or bathing. Try to you avoid getting shampoo, hairspray, bubble bath, shower gel, or other chemical irritants into your ears.

Be gentle with your ears. Always remember that the skin inside your ears is delicate and easily irritated. Never put anything hard inside your ears that might damage or antagonize the skin.

Be careful with hearing aids and ear plugs. If you wear a hearing aid, try to wait until your ear canal is dry after showering before you put the aid back inside your ear. The same applies to ear plugs of any kind—including the ones you use to listen to music. If possible, avoid wearing hearing aids altogether until an itch or infection has completely cleared up.

Controlling your allergies. If you suffer from dust, pollen or other allergies reduce your exposure to allergens and take antihistamine medication when necessary.

Itchy Ears Treatment

Itchy ear canal treatment

How to treat itchy ears

Although an outer ear infection or itchy ear canal will sometimes clear up by itself, it is a problem that can often be stubborn and persistent. The best approach is to think about how you are going to treat it and also how you will prevent it from happening again.

Treatment falls into two stages:

  • Stopping the itch, and
  • Clearing up the infection or skin condition.

Firstly, it is recommended that you consult your doctor so that she can clean your ear if necessary and prescribe ear drops. Your doctor might also take a swab of your ear canal to determine whether fungus is present. Results from a swab usually take a few days to come back.

  • Ear drops will contain a minimum of two active ingredients: an ingredient such as hydrocortisone that will quickly subdue the itching and any resultant swelling, and An antibiotic to kill the bacteria which causes the infection.
  • If you are diagnosed with having a fungal infection, your doctor might also prescribe anti-fungal drops or ointment as well.
  • Whilst using ear drops prescribed by your doctor, you can start to take preventative measures to ensure that the itch and/or infection do not return. Just because the ear drops have cleared up the problem, don’t assume that it is incapable of coming back. Preventative action is an on-going process and the more vigilant you are the greater chance you have of keeping your ear canal itch-free.

Note: It also recommended that you don’t become overly reliant on pharmaceutical ear drops in the long-term. Although they can work wonders at fighting the infection and stopping your ear canal from irritating you, long-term use should be avoided because they can be a little harsh for the sensitive skin in the ear. Once the itch has gone and your treatment has finished, seek out natural alternatives to prescription ear drops, such as olive oil.

More references

  1. Itchy ear canal:
  2. Itchy ear canal causes and treatments:
  3. Why would my ears feel itchy on the inside:
  4. Otitis externa – causes:
  5. Home remedies for treating itchy ears:
  6. How to treat an itchy ear canal: