What Does It Mean When Your Ear Itches?

Any itchy body part gets frustrating pretty quickly, but is there anything more annoying than an itchy ear in particular? Even a slight itch can be incredibly distracting, and it's worse when you don't know why it's itching. It's easy for our minds to travel to the worst possible conclusion, but in reality there are a handful of reasons for an itchy ear, and they can explain the vast majority of instances.

As a result, you can manage an itchy ear in a number of different ways, as different causes will require different solutions. It might be as simple as no longer using a certain product, or your doctor might need to prescribe you something. It differs from person to person, so it's not easy to know what to expect.  So, why might your ear be itching, and what does it mean? Keep reading to find out, as we go and explore the potential meanings of an itchy ear.

It could be an infection or an allergy

Your itchy ear could be a sign that you have an ear infection, caused by bacteria or viruses, as WedMD explains. One such infection is swimmer's ear, which — you guessed it — you might get after being in the pool. It occurs when water remains in your ear after you swim, as the moisture wears away at your ear's natural defenses.

Or maybe, instead, it's something that you're allergic to. Contact dermatitis can develop when you put something like an AirPod or hearing aid in your ear, while nickel earrings can cause allergies, too, per the Mayo Clinic. Alternatively, you might find that something you use on your hair or face is to blame. In any case, it's best to stop using the product in question, and speak to your doctor in the meantime, as they might be able to prescribe you some cream.

Do you live with either eczema or psoriasis? Both of these conditions can lead to itchy ears, according to Medical News Today, and can usually be treated with ear drops. However, if symptoms are particularly debilitating, you may be able to have steroid pills prescribed by your doctor.

An itchy ear is likely nothing serious

Your itchy ear could also simply be due to a buildup of earwax, per the Cleveland Clinic. Of course, earwax is important to your ears, protecting and cleaning them, but too much can be itchy. Instead of using a cotton swab, try using ear drops or speak to your doctor. Putting cotton swabs in your ear can be a risky game, as Health Hearing points out — particularly if you put them in too far. They can irritate your ear and make it itchy, while putting other things in your ear can scratch and invite itching — even just your fingers.

Do you have hay fever or a pollen allergy? This can make your ears itch, too, says WebMd — particularly if you eat certain fruits, vegetables, or nuts. It's known as oral allergy syndrome, and it's likely that you'll notice it during the regular allergy season. Most allergies of this nature are more annoying rather than downright dangerous, so you probably won't need treatment; finishing the food or putting a stop to eating it outright should do the trick and offer relief.