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Itchy Ear Canal – Causes and Treatment

Written by Dr.Mary

What is an Itchy Ear Canal?

This is a sensation that makes you want to scratch the inside of your ear. In some individuals this can be an extremely unpleasant experience. But before an individual is tempted to scratch the ear canal with a cotton swap or even worse, using a pen or pencil, it is vital to know what can cause the problem and how to treat it.

Itchy Ear Canal Causes

Individuals who frequently doing water sports or who frequently take trips to the swimming pool run the risk of the ears becoming infected by a fungus. And this problem can cause the ear canal to itch.

There are also other diseases or skin disorders that also can cause itchy ear canal including:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

This is more likely if the individual has a history of allergies or psoriasis that affects other areas of the skin. Psoriasis involvement in the ear canals causes significant scaling and blockage that might reduce hearing and may need professional irrigation of the canals.

Eczema or seborrheic dermatitis especially if severe might need steroid cream or drops to relieve the irritation and itching.

Allergies to foods as well as other elements are also frequently known to be the cause of an ear canal that itches along with the throat. In most of these cases, the itch is also accompanied by watery and irritated eyes. Occasionally, irritation as well as itching of the ear canals can be cause by sensitivity to certain shampoo or hairsprays.

Another one of the causes of ear canal itching is also the insufficient development of wax of the ear. This is a very common condition in swimmers. But, even an excessive production or buildup of wax of the ear can cause the ear canal to itch. In these cases, the individual may feel fullness in the ears as well as notice a reduction in hearing.


Another cause that is not very common is tiny bugs or insects that can enter into the canal of the ear and also cause irritation and itching. This normally happens during warm months as well as when sleeping on the floor or outside where insects keep creeping around.

Itchy Ear Canal Treatment

One treatment for ear canals that itch and that is very effective is to use some olive oil, mineral oil, or other vegetable oils and put a few drops into the affected ear. This will relieve the irritation and itching within minutes.

To get any bugs out of the ear canal, the individual can put some warm water into the ear canal with a rubber bulb syringe. Then put several drops of alcohol or mineral oil will help as it will smother the bug. Once the bug is killed, it should float to the surface. If this does not help it is probable that the individual will need to see a physician to have it removed.

If the problem is caused by ear wax, then lie down and place a warm hot-water bottle underneath the ear that is affected. This heat will melt the wax down and help it drain.

There is also an over-the counter lotion with one-half percent hydrocortisone that also is excellent in the soothing of most itching problems and it is currently a popular cure for ear canals that are itching. The individual can apply this lotion to the ear that is affected carefully with the twisted end of a clean cloth. If this medicine does not work, then the individual can get another one which is prescription strength.

All these methods are good to take care of most of the problems of an itchy ear canal. But if the itching continues for more than several days, then the individual will need to visit their primary care physician to make certain that this is not some other severe problem. And most important, remember with an itchy ear canal, don’t use a cotton swab or pencil or pen.

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