Itchy Ear Canal – Causes and Natural Home Remedies

Itchy Ear Canal – Causes and Natural Home Remedies

An Itchy ear canal can be a very annoying condition, and there are many different reasons why some people suffer from itchy ear right inside their ear canal. Some people have more sensitive skin than others. Also, some irritants and infections can cause chronic itching in the ears. In this this article I will discuss various causes of itchy ear, as well as home remedies to relieve itchy ear canal.

Often it can be frustrating to know how to deal with an itch in the ear. The ears are very sensitive organs and can be easily damaged if you try to scratch them inside with a foreign object.

In most cases, it is possible to relieve the itchy ear by using safe natural remedies. It is also important to know what causes itchy ears because then it is possible to prevent itchy ears from developing in the future. However if you cannot cure your itchy ears, you’ll need to consult with your doctor about it.

The Causes of Itchy Ear

Are itchy ears something to worry about? Here is a list of the main reasons why sometimes the inside of your ear itches.


One of the main causes of itchy ear canal is an inflammation of the outer ear canal called otitis externa. Dr. Tim Kenny on says that inflammation of the ear canal can be caused by infection, allergies or other reasons. One of the symptoms of this condition is itching, although hearing can also be affected and it can be accompanied by discharge and pain.1

Ear Infections

Ear infections are a very common reason why we sometimes have an itch in the ear canal. Dr. Robert Sander wrote in the journal American Family Physician that excessive moisture can cause itchiness in the ear. This is because too much moisture can lead to bacterial infections.2

This can very often affect swimmers who get itchy ears because water gets into the ear canal and can cause irritation and infection. If you are a swimmer, then it is best to try and avoid water entering your ear in the first place, or you can find ways to get the water out of your ears in my article on how to unclog your ears.

Infections can also be caused by cleaning your ears the wrong way. This is something I’ve already discussed in my previous article about why you should stop cleaning inside your ears. Otolaryngologist, Dr. Michael J. Rensink says that the ears are usually self-cleaning and the ear canal should not itch. He says that you should never use cotton swabs, paper clips, bobby pins, or things like these to clean your ears.3

Fungal Infections

Although not as common as bacterial infections in the ear, fungal infections can cause chronic itching in the ear canal. The Mediterranean Journal of Hematology and Infectious Diseases reports that fungi cause around 10% of all cases of itchy ears. It can also affect more people who have diabetes and underlying problems with their immune system.4

Psoriasis and Dermatitis

Another reason why you can sometimes experience itching in the ear canal is because of atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis. Both conditions can affect any area of the body, including the ear canal.

Dr. Bradley W Kesser says that inflammation caused by dermatitis causes itching in the ear and can lead to infection if left untreated.5 He also recommends against using cotton swabs, water, and other irritants in the ear to avoid making the inflammation worse.


Allergies are a very common reason for a chronic (persistent) itchy ear, and it can be difficult to get a relief unless you remove the allergen.

Dr. Gregory Thompson on says that having itchy ears, nose, and throat is a common symptom of being allergic to something.6 The allergic reaction could also cause pressure in your ear or difficulty in hearing. Food allergies can also cause an itch inside your ear.7

Too Little Earwax

The Mayo Clinic says that ear wax is necessary to clean, lubricate, and protect your inner ear.8 And, contrary to popular opinion, ear wax isn’t the sign of dirty ears.

Some people, however, produce too little ear wax and this can cause ear canal itching. The Harvard Medical School says that having too little earwax can make your ears feel itchy and uncomfortable. Also some people are born producing dry earwax that may be more likely to clump and get hard and dry, and are more likely to get ear infections.9

Hearing Aids

Very often hearing aids can cause itchy ears. There are two reasons for this. First of all the polish on the surface of the hearing aid can cause an allergic reaction. Secondly, the hearing aid can trap moisture in the ear causing an infection.

Dr. Michael J. Rensink, quoted earlier, recommends wiping carefully the earmold with alcohol before fitting the hearing aid. When bathing or showering, try to keep water out of your ears.3

Dry Ears

Cleaning your ears too much can also cause your ears to become itchy because this makes them dry. Our ears need to have some wax in them and this helps to keep them lubricated and free of bacteria.3

Remedies to Relieve Itchy Ears

If you suffer from itchy ears, it can be very tempting to try and relieve the itchy ear canal by putting something in the ear to relieve the itch. However, that can sometimes result in more damage.

The Department of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Texas says that putting things like cotton swabs and toothpicks in the ear to relieve itchiness can damage the ear and cause infections.10

There are many ways to prevent itching in ears from developing and also many natural remedies for itchy ears.

Warm Oil

Warm oil is one of the best ways to soothe an itchy ear and it can help to remove excess ear wax.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to use olive oil to relieve an itchy ear. This is what you should do:

  • Warm up some olive oil and test a few drops on the back of your hand to make sure it’s not too hot.
  • With an eyedropper, apply a few drops to your ear canal
  • When the wax has softened, gently remove it from the outer ear with a cotton swab. Remember not to go too deep.

If your itchy ear is caused by an infection, you can also make garlic oil to help stop itchy ears. To use garlic oil for an itch in your ear:

  • Crush 2 garlic cloves and wait several minutes to let the allicin form. Allicin is the major biologically active component of garlic. Then cook the crushed garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil for several minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic – you just want to infuse the oil with the garlic.
  • Strain the oil and let it sit until it is a warm and not too hot.
  • Lie on your side and using an eyedropper, put two to 4 drops in your ear.
  • Let it go to work for about 30 seconds.
  • Use the garlic oil 3 to 4 times daily to cure your itchy ear.

For more information on how to relieve an ear infection, please read my article about the best home remedies to get rid of ear infection.

Water and Vinegar

A water and vinegar solution can be helpful to prevent itchy ears. Dr. William H. Blahd on WebMD recommends a natural remedy to treat itchy ears. Mix one part white vinegar with one part water. Make sure the solution is at body temperature. Using a bulb syringe, gently rinse your ear. 11

Warm Compress

Dr. Blahd also recommends using a warm compress to find a relief from itchy ears. To do this, you can soak a towel or washcloth in warm water and wring it out. Place the warm compress over your ear for 10 minutes to treat your itchy ear. If you notice some loosened wax around the outer ear, you can remove that gently with a cotton swab.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Dr. Robert Sander, mentioned earlier, says that hydrogen peroxide can be used to soften ear wax.2 In some cases hydrogen peroxide can also treat an ear infection of the external ear which can also prevent itchy ear. All you have to do is lie on your side and put two drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide in your ear canal. Wait for a couple of minutes until the fizzing stops. Tilt your head to the side to let the loosened wax come out. Hydrogen peroxide has many other uses which you can read about in my previous article.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for Itchy Ears

Dr. Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young say in their book, “The pH Miracle” that apple cider vinegar changes the pH of the ear canal, creating an environment where bacteria and viruses cannot thrive. So if your itchy ears are a result of an ear infection, you can use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water to cure the itchiness.

Put equal parts of raw ACV and water in a pan and heat up. Make sure it’s not too hot. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture, lie on your side and leave it plugged in your ear for a few minutes each day.

It is always important to remember that while home remedies can help relieve the symptoms of an itchy ear, it’s always recommended to see your doctor if symptoms become worse or you develop an infection in your ear.

Read these related articles:
1. Why You should Never Clean the Inside of Your Ears
2. The Best Home Remedies For Getting Rid of Ear Infection
3. Home Remedies for a Pimple in Ear
4. How to Naturally Get Rid of Clogged Ears






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