Intense itching in ears: why?

I know, the usual disclaimers about responses not being a substitute for a doctor’s advice, yadda. But that aside, does anyone know what might be the cause of episodes of intense itching in my ear canals?

Huh. Finally I meet someone with the same problem.

I saw a doctor about mine a while back - he said it was dry skin inside the ears and gave me a prescription steroid cream. It worked a bit, but not totally - and it was such a pain to keep up with that I stopped even trying.

ditto. My doc said it was a type of eczema (sp?). Basically dry skin flaking off or some such.
Same treatment, steroid based cream.
I have read of only ONE permanent cure, but it was anecdotal and in one of those “alternative” medicince books, so…
But if anyone can suggest anything that would work I for one would be eternally gratefull

I have been putting the tip of my little finger in my ear and shaking the daylights out of it until the room rattled for many years.

There is no information available as to the cause or treatment .as far as my layman’s knowledge is aware.

What I do for relief,and I do not recommend OR fault it, is to put a couple of drops of “sweet oil” in each ear occasionally.

“sweet oil” is another name for olive oil------so I usually drop in a little “extra
Virgin” when the frenzy is upon me.

Good for me? Bad for me?

I d’know-------but it helps


I know someone who had this, and it was due to a hair (from his head, not growing there) that had been curled up in there for years, so that the skin had begun to grow over it. He said having the otologist pull it out was the most intense feeling he’d ever had, without being actually painful.

I have this problem but often with itching in my throat and scalp too - they sometimes all come together. ENT said IIRC it was because there’s a nerve that connects them all (referred itching I guess you might it). Steroid nose sprays for allergies actually help the ear itching. Just in case you’re desperate and have allergies and want to try something.

Itching accompanied by flaking in the ear canal is likely due to seborrheic dermatitis. It is commonly treated with selenium sulfide shampoo, ketoconazole shampoo/cream and topical corticosteroids of varying potencies. It tends to respond well to treatment but is not a curable condition (i.e. once treatment stops, the problem recurs).

Try a quick trip to the dermatologist. I can almost guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

-Choosy (Derm MD)

well I have gone to dermatologist. They recommended a topical corticosteroid which works. I just have a huge distrust of long term medicines myself. HATE the thought of using them.

I get really bad itching in the ear canal, too. Mine seems to be a combination of allergies and my special gift of over-zealous ear wax production. I do the nasal steroid spray (mostly because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to breath through my nose & I hate being a mouth breather) and something called an Ototek Loop It’s a safe way to scoop out wax, but mostly I use it to scratch in my ear without damaging anything.

Yaaaaaargh. They’re itching now!

A friend was told to use diluted peroxide (H202), on the grounds that itching led to excessive scratching, scraping the skin inside and allowing surface infection that would increase the itching. The peroxide addresses the surface infection. Plus, no more digging into the ear to scratch.

The peroxide foamed up in a dramatic fashion, and after a week or two it was cured.

IANAD and this case is a single anecdotal event.

I appreciate the cautious sentiment but used properly, topical steroids are unlikely to cause problems. A selenium sulfide or ketoconazole containing shampoo, both of which are safe as well, can serve as useful adjuncts in therapy, reducing the need for steroid use.


Was the hair still attached and growing?

I also suffer from this, there are times when I can’t wait to get home and I stop at the first drug store I see and buy Q-tips. I often puzzled my wife with all the multiple boxes of open Q-tips.

I try to only use them after I shower.

That Ototek loop looks interesting. I’ll stop at Walgreen’s tonight and buy one.

I said “not growing there”. IOW, it had fallen off his head and lodged in his ear somehow, completely curled up way deep. The suspicion is it must have itched originally and he had a good go at it with a cotton bud, accidentally pushing it in deeper.