Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

McGovern Medical School

Online Ear Disease Photo Book

Chapter 15 - Miscellaneous

Itchy Ears

Itchy ears are a very common problem. For some people the problem is so bad that they stick various objects into the ears, causing trauma to the ear canal. The most common causes of itching are a nervous habit, fungal infection or the beginning of an infection. Other causes can be skin diseases such as psoriasis or dermatitis. Some people with allergies complain of Itchy ears.

The ear canal may be normal on examination or there may be scaling of the skin. People aggravate the problem by using things such as bobby-pins, coat hangers and tooth picks to scratch the ear. This can produce abrasions of the ear canal.  Any break in the skin can allow bacteria to enter through this protective barrier. The ear will then become infected requiring it to be treated the same as swimmer’s ear.

Itching by itself without evidence of trauma or infection can be treated with a mild steroid ear drop.  A few drops placed in the ear will help to decrease the amount of itching. Another helpful treatment is the use of 70% alcohol (rubbing alcohol) as an ear drop. CAUTION: itchy ears may be the first signal that an infection is developing. If the ear is infected the alcohol will burn.


Adult with complaint of itchy ears all the time.


Adult with itchy ears.


Thirty year old lady with chronic itchy ears for many years.