Itchy Inner Ear Causes, Home Remedies, and Prevention Tips

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Itchy inner ear

An itchy inner ear is the result of a dry, flaky, or inflamed skin of the inner ear.

The main causes of an itchy inner ear are water lodging, damage to skin, or a fungal or bacterial infection.  The itchy inner ear and throat is common and doesn’t interfere with your hearing capability.

It becomes a threat to hearing if hard objects are used to itch the ear. Itching the ear irritates and damages the skin further. This article addresses a universal search “my ears itch deep inside” as well as home remedies and prevention measures. 

Related Reading: Rash behind Ear: 10 Possible Causes and Home Remedies


Causes of Itchy Inner Ear

Here are some common causes of itchy inner ears.

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1. Ear Wax

The purpose of ear wax is to avoid itchiness and discomfort. If the ears are not producing enough wax, the area is prone to dry, irritated skin. Dry skin causes itchy inner ears. Itching the inner ears intensifies the itchiness.

2. Allergies

An itchy inner ear is a symptom of an allergy. It may be due to a runny nose and postnasal drip. The histamine triggers the running nose. Itching from allergies can be from the season, food, dust, etc.

3. Fungal Infections

The primary symptom of fungal infections in the ear is itchiness. Fungal infections in the ear can be from swimming or exposure to moist conditions. You can prevent fungal infection by keeping the inner ear dry.

4. Skin Conditions

If your ears itch deep inside, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis may be the cause. These infections can spread into the ear canal. Primary indications of these conditions are itchiness, irritation, and swelling.

5. Q-Tips or Cotton Buds

It is not recommended to use Q-Tips or cotton buds to clean the ears. The ear naturally cleans itself. Cotton buds scratch the sensitive skin in the ears. The damage exposes the inner ear to infections.

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6. Swimming

Swimmers are at a higher risk of suffering from itchy inner ears. Water carries bacteria and fungus into the ears.

The risk is higher if the skin in the ears is broken or scratched. Water getting into ears leaves moisture, which is an ideal reproduction area for bacteria.

7. Hair or Bath Products

Products such as hairspray, bubble bath, hair gel, hair dye, and shampoo can cause ear itchiness. The residue gets into the inner ears and causes irritation and sensitivity.

8. Weather Conditions

Fungi thrive in warmer conditions. Warmer weather conditions can irritate the ears. Moisture in the weather can create a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria in the ear, which leads to infection.

9. Trauma to Ear

Individuals who continuously itch the inner ears with items such as cotton buds, toothpicks, and bobby pins might scratch the sensitive skin of the inner ear. The breaking of the inner ear skin leads to more itching and infection.

Related Reading: Bleeding from Ear: Causes and Home Remedies

10. Bugs

There are cases where bugs travel into the inner ear, especially while sleeping. It leads to insects buzzing in ear and itching. The bugs moving around in the ear can irritate the skin. The bugs can be removed by drowning them.


Home Remedies for Itchy Inner Ear

Everyday household products can be used as home remedies for itchy inner ears.

These solutions can be used to remove the cause of the itchiness or irritation, such as ear wax or moisture. Try these itchy inner ear home remedies first before seeking medical attention.

1. Oil Drops

Put warm olive or coconut oil in your ear. A few drops of oil helps prevent excess wax build up and is safer than using a q-tip or object to remove wax. Put oil in a glass of warm water.

Test the solution on the wrist to ensure it is not too hot. Add a few drops of oil to the ear, and let it sit for a few minutes before draining. Avoid scratching the ear after this, for it will cause more irritation and damage.

2. Vinegar and Alcohol

A standard solution is to use equal portions of white vinegar and alcohol. This solution is a home remedy for infections. The acid in vinegar and alcohol helps clean the ear and kill bacteria.

To insert the solution use a pipette, teaspoon, or dipper. Tilt the head, and let the solution flow into the ear.

Leave it in the ear for a few seconds before draining onto a paper towel. It is not recommended to overuse this method because the solution can dry out the ears.

Related Reading: 12 Substitutes for Red Wine Vinegar and How to Use Them

3. Soften Wax

Excess ear wax may be the cause of pain or irritation. Ear wax should not be removed with an object. It is better to soften the earwax. This process can be done with a warm compress (warm towel) or water bottle.

Lie down with compress or water bottle on the ear. Once the wax is softened, it should slide out of the ear. Swipe the wax away if it is visible. Do not insert the swab into the ear.

4. OTC Pain Medications

OTC pain medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen can alleviate pain while the ear heals.

5. Keep Ears dry

Reduction of irritation in the ears involves keeping the ears dry.

Using a swim cap helps keep the ears dry during swimming sessions or showers. After showers, a hairdryer can be used to dry ears as long as it’s on the low setting to prevent burning.


How to Prevent Itchy Inner Ear?

Here are some methods which can prevent itchy inner ears.

1. Prevent Excess Liquid from Entering into Your Ear

To prevent liquid from entering ears while showering, put a cotton ball at the entrance of ear.

This method also protects the inner ear from products such as shampoo, soap, etc. Keep in mind to gently place the cotton into ear and not too deep. Remove the cotton if it irritates the skin.

2. Purchase a Swim Cap or Headband

It is wise to use a swim cap or headband to keep water out of the ear. These items also keep fungi and bacteria out of the ear to prevent infection.

If water does get into the ear, tilt the head to drain water. Last resort is to use a hair dryer to evaporate the water. Keep hair dryer on low setting and 50 cm away from the ear.

3. Use Olive Oil

Olive oil is a natural and harmless way to clean the ears and prevent wax build up. Put a small amount of oil on the spoon.

Tilt the head to one side, and let oil flow into the ear from the spoon. A dropper or pipette can be used if the spoon is too tricky. Leave the oil in the ear for a few minutes before tilting head to drain oil onto a paper towel.

4. Ear Wax Removal

Drain ear wax. If the oil method doesn’t work, there are wax removers that can be purchased at a store. The product is a wax softener, and it should be used sparingly.

5. Avoid Ear Plugs

Be gentle with ears. The skin in the inner ear is delicate and sensitive. Avoid putting hard objects in the ear. Use precautions when using ear plugs too.

Earplugs also apply towards the earplugs used for music. Use earplugs after the ear is dry. It is best to avoid earplugs until the infection clears.

Taking these prevention measures will help avoid itchy inner ears in the future. The itchy inner ear remedy will alleviate the itchiness.

Knowing the reasons for the itchy inner ear can help determine which home remedy to use and how to prevent it from recurring.

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Sources:
Wordinger, D.,”How to Treat an Itchy Ear Canal,”Healdove web site, March 23, 2017; https://healdove.com/disease-illness/Itchy-Ear-Canal.
“Itchy ear: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis,” Healthline web site; https://www.healthline.com/symptom/itchy-ear, last accessed November 11, 2017.
“Itchy Inner Ear,” Med-Health web site, Januar 06, 2014; http://www.med-health.net/itchy-inner-ear.html.

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Irene Entila

Irene Entila

Irene is a health and fitness consultant based out of Albuquerque, NM. She was a personal trainer during the years of 2010-2013. She holds a Bachelors of Liberal Arts with a focus on creative writing from The Evergreen State College. She obtained her personal trainer license through Seattle Central College...
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