Very few things are more annoying than a scratch you can't reach. And one of the worst places to get an itch is inside the ear. It's nearly impossible to reach and can drive a sane person crazy.
If you have chronic ear itchiness, there's actually a pretty simple explanation -- and easy ways to stop it. Let's first discuss the cause for itchy ears, and then we will delve into some remedies.
What causes itchy ears
Contrary to old wives' tales, itchy ears are not caused by someone talking bad about you. Your ears are actually full of neurological fibers. If your ear fibers are particularly sensitive, you're likely to experience more itchiness than the average person.
Other common causes of itchy ears include dry skin, ear canal dermatitis (allergic reaction), ear infection, psoriasis or use of a hearing aid.
Itchiness can also be caused by too much water in the ear (such as after a swimming session). Most cases of itchy ears are nothing to worry about and easy to treat.
If you notice bleeding, draining or hearing loss with the itchiness, talk to your doctor.
Treating itchy ears
Inserting objects into your ear to reach the scratch (like a cotton swab or a bobby pin) is unsafe because you risk puncturing your eardrum or causing other damage. Instead, try one of these home remedies for treating your itchy ear:
1. Alcohol and vinegar
Mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part white vinegar. Use a small spoon or dropper to drip a little of the mixture into your ear. Tilt your head sideways and let the solution set for a few seconds, and then tilt your head the other way and drain. This method can dry out your ear, so keep it to a minimum.
2. Warm oil
Warm your favorite natural oil (olive, tea tree, coconut or garlic) to a comfortable temperature and add a few drops to your ear.
3. Hydrogen peroxide
Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with one part water. Use a small dropper to drip the mixture into your ear. This will help clean out excessive ear wax.
4. Aloe vera
Try three to five drops of gel from an aloe vera plant, which can restore pH levels and provide anti-inflammation benefits.
5. Homemade elderberry syrup
Wellness Mama recommends elderberry syrup (her recipe is here) for soothing earaches and potential infections, especially in kids. Don't put it in your ear, though! Try drinking some for its antiviral properties, which may help recovery from an ear infection.
If your itchy ear persists, you may want to talk to a doctor, who can prescribe an antibiotic ointment or ear drops.