By: Dr. Keith Kantor
Inner ear itching can be caused by dirt, infection, water, earwax build up and even food intolerance. The itching can usually be treated at home, but when it is accompanied by pain and the symptoms are persistent, you should go to your doctor because it is probably an infection that requires antibiotics.
Some infectious agents, like bacteria and yeast, can cause inner ear itching, which may also require medication if it doesn’t heal on its own. It is important to treat possible infections as early as you can especially with children. Chronic ear infections in children can result in getting tubes put in their ears and potential hearing loss for anyone getting ear infections with age.
Our body can give us subtle signals that there is low-grade inflammation going on due to being exposed to outside toxins, and even food intolerance. Ear itching is one of those signs that most people may not recognize as signal from our body that something is wrong. I have had clients go through a food elimination diet due to food intolerances and when they slowly reintroduce foods after the elimination period we monitor symptoms closely. If they are still experiencing intolerances they may experience excess changes in their skin texture, itchy inner ears, excess gas, bloating, and/or GI distress.
Common foods that result in food intolerances include food dyes, processed sugar, high fructose syrups, dairy, gluten, or corn. Food intolerances are very different from food allergies. Food allergies come with very noticeable symptoms like hives, swelling of the face, lips, etc. and in the worst-case scenario anaphylaxis shock. Food intolerances come with more mild symptoms like brain fog, itchy ears, small bumps on the arms, or bloating or mild GI distress.
Some other remedies for itchy ears include:
Homemade warm oil drops. Warming up mineral oil, olive oil or even vegetable oil and placing a few drops in the ear is a natural way to treat dry ears and to loosen up any build up within the ear canal. It is best to avoid excessive rubbing with a cotton swab due to the higher risk of scratching the inner ear and causing damage. Warm oil works best but it should always be tested out on your wrist before you put it in your ear to avoid burning your ear canal.
Rubbing alcohol and water
Water with or without rubbing alcohol can be squirted into the ear using a bulb syringe or ear syringe. The water and alcohol can flush out bacteria, debris and kill bugs that may be in the ear. After putting the water and alcohol into the ear, the syringe can be used to withdraw the water out or the individual can rest on his side to allow the fluid to drain.
Take a steamy shower or apply a hot compress.
Warming up the ear canal can also soften up the excess wax build up. Take a hot shower or place a hot washcloth on the outer ear to loosen up the buildup. When the wax becomes visible take a cotton swab and gently remove. If you cannot see the wax do not use a cotton swab, it will only push the wax, debris, or bacteria further back into the ear causing further damage.
Keep your ears dry.
It is best to wear a swim cap or ear plugs to avoid excess water in the ears. If water gets into the ear use alcohol and water or swimmers ear drops to remove water. If water stays in the ear it can cause an outer ear bacterial infection. In addition to the eardrops, drying out the ears with a hair dryer while tilting the head to the side also works well.
Listen to your body, if you have subtle symptoms like ears itching without pain consider some of these holistic remedies above to clear them and decrease symptoms. Also take into consideration certain foods you eat around when your ears itch the most.