Ok weird question - but here goes...!

Ireland
January 28, 2007 11:05am CST
Does anyone else have premanently itchy ears???! For the last 10 years or so I have had permanently itchy ears! I went to the doctor about it about six months ago, and he said I've got 'otitis externa', a sort of eczema or allergy in the ears. The trouble is they are SO itchy that I cannot resist scratching them, and then they bleed. He gave me steriod and antibiotic drops to alleviate the itching for the time being, and they cleared up, but of course after stopping the drops the itching started again pretty soon and the whole cycle started again. So I've now had two cycles of the steriod drops. I don't want to take the drops permanently because steriods are so damaging to the skin in the long term, and they cause rebound eczema when you stop them. I do find that my ears also stop itching when I am taking antihistamines, but I also don't like the idea of taking antihistamines permanently! Any ideas? Has anyone else suffered from this?!
6 people like this
25 responses
@teenal (970)
• Ireland
28 Jan 07
My brother used to always say his ears were annoying him and used to poke them with cotton buds. He ended up with tinnitus(ringing in the ear) in his late 20's which drove him to distraction. He tried lots of treatments to no avail. Then his wife suggested using her friend who is an accupuncturist. He tried it and it worked. She said that most ear problems are due to not having enough wax in the ear or impacted wax. Apparentley the needles stimulate the ear to produce more wax. It worked for him so it might be worth a try.
• Ireland
28 Jan 07
Wow - thats interesting! I think my problem would be more a lack of wax than impacted wax. I always assumed I had too much wax, but doctors have always told me that I don't have much wax at all in my ears. So if the needles stimulate ear wax then it could definately work for me! I'm going to try the tea tree, and if that doesn't work I think I'll definately give acupuncture a go! Thanks Teenal!
2 people like this
• United States
29 Jan 07
teenal thanks for your advice, I have tinnitus for the past year and its in my right ear and its driving me crazy. It is really bad in the morning when everything is so quiet. The doctors said that it shall just go away, but it hasn't. He advised me to use nasal wash, but nothing happened. Thanks for the advice I may just try acupunture.
3 people like this
• United States
29 Jan 07
Kparro, a website called www.bonaicchoice.com sells a product called "echo no more" for ringing in the ears. I don't know if it works as I've never tried it, but bought some in case mine ever comes back, which I had for just a couple of hours (and yes! it was very annoying!!)
2 people like this
@lauriefnp (5112)
• United States
28 Jan 07
I forgot to add this- I have been using tea tree oil products for adult acne flares, and I have a bottle of tea tree oil that I am considering using for this as an experiment. There is a lot of good information on this site: http://www.teatreewonders.com/ It says that it is good for eczema and other skin conditions, so I was going to dab it on with a q-tip once a day instead of using steroids and see how it works.
3 people like this
• Ireland
28 Jan 07
Laurie thanks so much for that! Although I'm sorry this is happening to you as well, I'm glad I'm not the only one lol! Interesting what you say re stress.. I immigrated (changed continents) about ten years ago... I actually do also use tea tree oil for spots (also adult spots lol - I thought we were supposed to grow out of these things...!) I've never thought about using it for eczema - I am certainly go to try what you've suggested!! Thank you! (ps I'm so sorry it sounds like you've had AWFUL stress recently! Glad it sounds like things are okay now!)
2 people like this
• Ireland
28 Jan 07
Re the hairgels and stuff, the only thing I use on my hair at the moment is shampoo. The doc said I should avoid getting even water in my ears, and should wear earplugs when I shower. I don't think that's really possible for me though, because the only time I can take a shower is when my one year old is asleep, and I like to keep an ear out in case she cries...
2 people like this
@runsgame (2034)
• India
29 Jan 07
i had this problem wheni was studying in college. i got treatment from ent specialist and now occasionaly i will be havingthis problem.
3 people like this
• Ireland
29 Jan 07
Runsgame I'd be very interestested to know how your ent specialist treated this? Many thanks for responding btw! :)
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I have had similar although I haven't asked the doctor about it. Something you might try doing is putting a bit of babyoil on a q-tip and run it around the outer part of the ear, not in the canal itself. You don't want to use things like alchohol or hydrogen peroxide since both can be drying agents which would make the iching worse. Witch Hazel is an astrigent and also works for itching without drying as much. I know this is going to sound weird given the topic but it is the main ingredient in Tucks which is to help itching in other parts of the body. Hope this helps.
3 people like this
• Ireland
29 Jan 07
Emeraldisle thanks for that! I will certainly try the witch hazel! I knew that its good for spots, but I had no idea its good for itching / allergy! Thats great! :)
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
I have had ichy ears since I was a child, everyone looks at me funny when I cant take it any more and I scratch them. I have found that if you take a q-tip and dip it in olive oil, rub a little in your ears it is a mighty fine relief. My doc told me that one and it works great !!!!
• Ireland
29 Jan 07
Thanks happymomndad! Yes the olive oil sounds like a good idea! :)
1 person likes this
@Gmens91 (389)
• Philippines
29 Jan 07
So that's my problem!! Mine started around 10 years ago. I thought an ant had crept through my ear and started biting. It annoyed me for a while, But I have gotten used to it ever since. I will try the acupunture though. I am currently having treatments for my arthritic back and I will just add treatments for the ears. I'll get back to you if it works :)
2 people like this
• Ireland
2 Feb 07
Yes PLEASE do get back to me if it works!! Thank you! Is the acupuncture helping your arthritis?
1 person likes this
@TerryZ (22083)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I get it once in awhile but not as bad as you. I dont do anything for it. It always goes away on its own. Im sorry I have no remedy for you but maybe somebody here can help you out. Take care of your eyes.
• Ireland
2 Feb 07
Thanks Terry! :)
• Canada
29 Jan 07
HI there, I have the same problem as you but I know what causes mine. I have an allergy to milk and milk products. For the itching to be at an acceptable level I have to control my intake of milk and milk products. Took me a while to learn this, good luck. What I did was I started to cut out things for one week until I found what was bottering me, of course you could go for an allergy test and then you would know right away. The hard part is cutting it out completely. I choose to control how much milk I can have by the conquenses. Works for me.
2 people like this
• Ireland
2 Feb 07
I wonder if I may have a similar problem? I am intolerant of dairy products to a certain extent in that I suffer from migraines, and most dairy product, especially in excess, can cause me to get a migraine. I wonder if this intolerance could have other symptoms in me as well, like the itchy ears?
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
Did you doctor mention getting allergy tests to find out exactly what your allergic too. If you find out what you are allergic too you can probably go problem free. Just a thought.
2 people like this
• Ireland
2 Feb 07
No he didn't, but that's a very good idea! I have heard of allergy testing centres which do either kinesiology type or blood test type tests. Are these the ones you are referring to?
1 person likes this
@loujac3 (1188)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I never really gave it thought what caused that. I find that I have the same problem only on the nose. It is across the area of the nose where my glasses rest and on the sides and in one eyebrow where the frames touch. I really have been blaming it on the plastic frames. I really do think you are right on. I think they also call it contact dermititis. Mskes sense now! I have tried olive oil, different facial creams with things like herbal remedies, steroid creams and I also find that exposure to the sun help its. It is worse in the winter time when I can not get out in the sunlight. Crazy!
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
That sounds really irritating!!! It's really interesting that you say the sun helps it - an earlier poster also mentioned that hers is worse in winter!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
May this help u temprary - you start eating leaves of neem tree like 5 leaves each day with sugar and water . It helped me when i was a kid
2 people like this
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Oh wow! I just saw neem recommended for skin conditions on a website some other poster gave me! How did you do it? Did you heat the water and make it into a tea? Did you have eczema?
1 person likes this
29 Jan 07
itchy ears? thats a funny one. i have an itchy nose though? what if someone had itchy finger tips? how would they remove the itch from there?
2 people like this
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
lol! I also have a really bad itchy nose when I get hayfever every year - HORRID I sympathise!!!
1 person likes this
@flowerchilde (12518)
• United States
29 Jan 07
No, just occasionally, which, for me, seems to be either a little wax buildup or precurser to an ear infection. Have you checked out any herbs? I know the websitte http://www.botanicchoice.com has herbs for ears.. They have a list on the left (last time I was there) as to uses, such as ears, weight loss, whatever.. And I remember they do have some herbs or blends specifically for ears, but whether or not it will help, I don't know, but maybe. I did hear that vitamin B-12 is good for the ears. It doesn't seem right that there wouldn't be a cure. I mean why not? I've used a tiny bit of antibiotic ointment on a q-tip in the ear where it itches, before bed. Just a slight film on the q-tip, Or even a minute amount of hydrygen peroxide on a q-tip, so it's just barely damp.
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Thanks for that Flowerchilde! That website is very interesting! I have a good health shop nearby, so I'm going to have a look and see if ti stocks some of the herbs they mention - some things I found that look like they may help are Neem, and Fumitory Herb. Also interesting re Vitamin B12 - I might as well give tat a try anyway, as I've been very stressed, and it helps for stress. So it may have a double benefit for me lol! By the way, just something interesting I heard the other day - don't take Vitamin B at night because it can keep you awake.
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Jan 07
Itchy ears, flaking and peeling, can also be an indication of parasites and/or an over manifestation of yeast. If you want help with this, holistically, send me a message. I am a Natural Healthcare Practitioner, and if you go to my profile, you will see what I do. I'd be happy to help you.
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Many thanks feelinggood! I'm going to send you a friend request so I can pm you!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
my daughter has eczema, but not in her ears. mostly on her legs, elbows, things like that. it seems to be much worse in the winter time because of the dry air. she would scratch until she'd bleed also, so her doc gave her some of prescription cream. im not sure the name of it because i dont have the jar anymore. i need to get it refilled. well anyway, this cream clears her up within 1-2 days. but it comes back again after a few days. during the summer she's not so bad, so maybe you wont be either. maybe you could take the antihistamines during the winter if you get better during the summer. i hope it doesnt drive you crazy!
2 people like this
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Thanks Amber! Shame your poor daughter! Very interesting that it's better in the summer! Just one thing though - the prescription cream that your doc gave is probably steroid cream, which shouldn't really be taken over a long period unless it's an exceptional case. It causes the skin to become thinner, and causes skin damage in the long run. It also causes rebound eczema, which is probably why your daughters eczema comes back after a few days. Thats why I'm trying to find an alternative to the steroid drops my doc gives me. Maybe some of the other treatments that the posters have suggested on here would also work for your daughter?
1 person likes this
@Stephanie5 (2947)
• United States
29 Jan 07
I have itchy ears too! I will have to call the doc and see if I have the same thing as you, because it's enough to drive you crazy, isn't it"???????
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Yes it's totally maddening isn't it....!!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Jan 07
My friend had this problem doctor said lotion will work.. and he came back and said it didn't and then the doc put him on a special Medicine!!
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Thanks Xaminer!
@kitokito (110)
• Philippines
29 Jan 07
My younger cousin has it because of psoriasis. I used to clean his ears for him. Poor kid, he is always itching. In his case, there is always too much ear wax in his ears even if I clean it regularly. We have tried alovera gel to soothe the stuborn itching. It always works but the excessive ear wax doesnt lessen. But when he tried a natural supplement to boost his immune system, there was an improvemnt. Maybe you should try that then. Boost your health with supplements that are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine...
• Ireland
1 Feb 07
Hi Kitokito! Yes i do take Vitamin C every day, (I discovered that in pregnancy when I had hayfever), but maybe I should try a higher dose! Thanks for that! I do have aloe gel as well, so I'll give that a try too! (I've been using it as a facial moisturiser.) Shame your poor cousin with psoriasis! I've heard that's awful! :(
1 person likes this
@Rosy001 (363)
• South Africa
29 Jan 07
Honestly, 1st time i hear of such 'itchy ears'......mine only itches when it has that burning sensation. you know when they say that someone is talking of you (old wives tale). i agree with the steroid creams, they are too dicey to use especially for long term use. how bout keeping th em covered at all times and smear a nice thick cooling cream, like aloe cream or something.
2 people like this
• Ireland
29 Jan 07
Thanks for replying Rosie! Yes I have some aloe gel - may give that a try! Good idea!
1 person likes this
@lauriefnp (5112)
• United States
28 Jan 07
I can't believe that someone else has the exact same problem that I have! Mine started about 9 months ago, and originally the doctor thought that it was an allergic reaction to the earpieces in a new stethoscope that I was using daily at work. I switched back to the old earpieces and it cleared up with antibiotic and steroid drops, but it keeps coming back. It gets so flaky and itchy that I just can't stand it! My doctor calls it "eczema" also, which I find strange because I don't have skin problems anywhere else. From what I know about eczema, it generally affects other areas of the body. It doesn't flare up as much when I avoid using hairsprays and hair gels, so I try to avoid these as much as possible. I also use an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream (which is very weak) applied with a q-tip every other day. This seems to keep it from flaring up. I haven't taken antihistamines because I always get side effects, so I can't speak on that. But, like you, I wouldn't want to take them forever either. My doctor plans to send me to a dermatologist if this hasn't resolved by March, but I don't see what they will do, other than what I've already been doing. My doctor feels that it is definitely eczema which was triggered by stress. I have to admit that it did start at an extremely stressful time; I had just ended a long-term relationship, my brother was critically ill in intensive care for 6 weeks, and I was laid-off from my job- all within a few weeks. Have you had any unusual stress? If that's the case, then it should be improving, as things are now finally getting back to normal.