what if i have itchy ears

What to do about itchy ears

8/2/2023 12:00:00 AM • 4 min read

Itchy ears can be incredibly frustrating, since you can’t just reach in and scratch the itch! There are a variety of reasons you may have itchiness in your ear canals, and there are a few different ways to find relief, depending on what’s causing the itch.

Causes of Itchy Ears

Earwax buildup

Earwax is created by your body to help keep your ear canals clean and protected. If you have an over-production of earwax or you have been using cotton swabs, they may have pushed the earwax deep into the ear canal. This wax buildup may be causing the itching.


Infection can cause itching and/or pain in the ears and can be caused by both bacteria and viruses. People who swim frequently may develop a condition called “swimmer’s ear,” which is an infection in the ear canal.

Dry skin

If your ears aren’t producing enough earwax, they may become too dry! Wax helps to lubricate the ear canal, so not having enough or using cotton swabs to get rid of earwax can lead to dryness and itching in your ears. If you suspect this is the cause of your itchy ears, ask your primary care doctor, ENT or dermatologist.

Ear canal dermatitis

Dermatitis in the ear canal may be caused by something you’re allergic to, such as metal in earrings or an ingredient in a lotion or other product applied on or near the ears. Eczematoid dermatitis may also develop, which can cause the ears to itch. Dermatitis is usually diagnosed by a primary care doctor or dermatologist.

Can allergies cause itchy ears?

Yes! Allergies are a common cause of itchy ears. High-pollen environments may cause people who have outdoor allergies to suffer itching in the ears (among other itching). Food allergies can also cause itching in the ears and are a sign for many food allergy sufferers that they have been exposed to an allergen.

Treatment for itchy ears

Checking in with your doctor is a good idea if you have ongoing ear itching. They can help determine if the cause is an infection or allergy, or refer you to a specialist, such as an ENT or dermatologist. Over-the-counter ear drops are good to try, as long as you don’t have a perforated eardrum.

If earwax buildup is causing the itching, the hearing care professionals at HearingLife may be able to help with removal. Give us a call to see if we have a professional near you who offers earwax removal.

How to prevent itchy ears

It may seem like cotton swabs will help with your itchy ears – but don’t be fooled! They will push the wax further into your ear, and the problem may become worse.

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