Many people complain of itching in the ears. They keep on cleaning the ears with cotton buds and anything that can be inserted into the ear canal, to get relief. Self cleaning the ear causes damage to the ear canal and end up in ENT surgeon’s clinic.

The Itching is usually due to a disturbance in the skin of the external auditory canal.

Causes of itching in the Ears:

Ear canal skin is very sensitive. The slightest accumulation of debris, even a dead hair, may be felt as an itching sensation.

Dry ears are itchy:

Often, dryness in the ear is what causes inner ear itching. Some people produce very less sebum or earwax. This little amount is not adequate to keep the ear canal well lubricated. As a result, dryness occurs inside the ear, which gives rise to flaky skin in the interior of the ear. This condition is known as seborrhea dermatitis and eventually leads to ear itching.

A normal ear has a thin layer of natural body oil. Some ears produce no ear wax which results in dry and itchy ear skin. Sometimes people compulsively clean their ears and dry them out by removing the natural wax.

Swimmer’s Ear-Otomycosis (Fungal infection)

This is yet another common cause of itching inside ear. It occurs when water gets trapped in the ear canal. This trapped water is favorable for the growth of fungi and bacteria, which often leads to infections. Antifungal and antibiotic ear drops must be used after the ear being cleaned.


Allergies to certain chemicals in the hair care like hair dye, shampoo products often cause itchiness in the ear. Stopping the use of such products can alleviate this problem.

Sometimes the plastic of a hearing aid will cause an allergic reaction in the ears of the wearer. The solution here is to have the hearing aid mold revised.

External Otitis

Skin diseases such as allergic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, seborrhea dermatitis can cause itching in the ear just as they do elsewhere. These are treated in the same way that they are treated elsewhere in the body. Generally they are diagnosed by otoscopy (looking inside the ear). Steroid creams are used in persons with allergic skin diseases affecting the ear.


The itching can usually be treated at home, but when it is accompanied by pain and the symptoms are persistent, medical attention is necessary to rule out something more serious. Some infectious agents, like bacteria and fungus, can cause inner ear itching, which may require medication if it doesn’t heal on its own.

Avoid Cotton Buds-Say NO to Cotton Buds

General principles are to avoid aggressive cleaning by cotton buds and similar objects. A few drops of a vegetable oil such as olive oil every day or two may help keep the ear from getting too dry and also protect it from water.

Home Remedies

Any kind of edible oil cures ear itching effectively. Coconut oil or olive oil is a great ear itching remedy. Warm a spoonful of vegetable oil and pour it in the ear drop by drop using a dropper. Itching should stop almost immediately. Oil also loosens the earwax so that it can be easily removed.

Ear Cleaning in the Clinic

For people who compulsively clean out their ears, I advise scheduled appointments for ear cleaning, usually every 6 months, and avoidance of use of Cotton Buds or similar instruments in between. The best option is to get it cleaned from an expert, so as to avoid any risk to the ear. Squirting water with the help of a bulb is also a good option of cleaning ear. However, it is important to get rid of all the water from the ear in order to prevent the possibility of infections.

Itching inside ear is rarely an issue of concern. However, if it persists even after taking medications or undergoing treatment, then you should perhaps consult an ENT specialist who may help you to diagnose the problem and initiate a proper treatment. In order to avoid any kind of ear problem, it is necessary to implement proper hygiene practices to keep your ear clean.

 Please read about fungus in the ear.