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Itchy ears can be experienced by anyone and at any time. Although it looks mild and generally harmless, this condition should not be taken lightly, because it could be caused by a serious illness that requires treatment by a doctor
Despite small size, ears play a big role in everyday life. Not only for hearing, ears also function to maintain body balance.
The ear is filled with sensitive nerves, so it will give a certain reaction when there is a disturbance and one of them is itching. These disturbances can be minor, such as the entry of a foreign object, or serious, such as certain medical conditions.
Therefore, it is important to know the various causes of itchy ears so that appropriate treatment can be carried out and prevent serious complications.
Various Causes of Itchy Ears
There are several conditions or diseases that can trigger itchy ears, including:
1. Otitis externa
Otitis externa is an infection of the canal that connects the outer ear canal to the eardrum. This condition is also known as swimmer's ear, because it often occurs in adults and children who often swim.
Water that enters the ear canal can make the ear moist and trigger the development of bacteria and fungi that can cause infection. In addition to itchy and painful ears, infection can also cause red and swollen ears.
In addition, otitis externa can also be caused by scratching wounds due to allergies or irritation, the use of hearing aids and earphones, and the habit of cleaning the ears with cotton buds.
This condition will usually improve after using antibiotics or corticosteroid drugs prescribed by the doctor.
2. Earwax buildup
There are times when the body produces too much earwax, resulting in a buildup of wax in the ear canal. This condition is also known as cerumen prop. This earwax actually serves to protect the inner ear from bacteria and dust.
However, removing earwax using a cotton bud actually pushes earwax further into and closes the ear canal, causing the ear to itch and feel painful.
Itchy ears can be a symptom of psoriasis, which is a chronic autoimmune disease that generally attacks the skin. Symptoms of psoriasis are a red rash, the skin feels thick and dry, peels off easily, and looks scaly. This symptom is usually accompanied by itching, including in the ear.
Psoriasis often occurs in people aged 15-35 years, but not infrequently also experienced by someone over 50 years old.
4. Dry skin
Dry skin on the ear can occur when the ear does not produce enough wax as a lubricant. In addition to itchy ears, the skin of the inner ear is easily peeled off.
5. Ear canal dermatitis
This condition occurs due to inflammation of the skin in and around the ear canal. Generally, this condition occurs as an allergic reaction to a foreign object, such as the use of jewelry or beauty products.
6. Use of hearing aids
Itchy ears can also occur due to an allergic reaction to the hearing aid used. In addition, this tool can also make the ears easily moist and trigger itching.
Rhinitis is an inflammation of the lining of the nasal cavity that can be seasonal or occur continuously. This condition can be caused by allergies, but it can also be triggered by other things such as changes in the weather, air pollution, or certain medical conditions.
In addition to runny nose and frequent sneezing, rhinitis can also cause itchy ears, stuffy nose, headache, watery eyes, and sore throat.
How to Treat and Prevent Itchy Ears
Treatment of itchy ears is tailored to the underlying cause of the condition. There are several steps that can be taken to treat itchy ears, including:
- Stop using beauty products if they cause itching in the ears.
- Avoid inserting objects that pose a risk of irritation to the ear, including cotton buds and cotton swabs.
- Check your ears regularly to the doctor or clean your ears using over-the-counter ear drops.
- Avoid cleaning the ears using sharp objects, such as hair clips.
- Immediately remove jewelry if it triggers itching in the ear.
- Use earplugs when swimming or dry your ears immediately when water gets in.
In general, itchy ears are a harmless condition. However, immediately consult a doctor if this condition is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, ear swelling, discharge from the ear, ringing in the ears, or hearing problems.
Doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics in the form of drops or ointments to treat infections, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, ear drops to soften earwax, or antifungal drugs to treat yeast infections.