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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Inner ear tickle

05/10/2000

Question:

I am a 48 year old female,,lately my ears have been itching,(this is my ear canal or where you would clean with a Q-tip) or to describe better they tickle. It drives me crazy. What is this a sign of, if anything? Could I just have a build-up of earwax? and is there an earwax softner/remover product that you would recommend? thank you

Answer:

The symptom that you are describing frequently is due to simple things such as earwax accumulation or a minor skin irritation of the skin lining the ear canal. The easiest solution is to have it checked out by your physician.

During an exam, your doctor can clean the ear of any excess wax or debris and make sure that there are no signs of infection or inflammation. Occasionally, allergies can also cause an itching sensation of the ear. And finally, an eczema type problem is not an uncommon problem of the ear canal skin. These conditions are usually readily diagnosed and treated.

The use of ear canal cleaning solutions is generally not recommended until your ear has been checked and cleared of any obvious pathology. Use of earwax removers, for example, would not be recommended if you had a perforation of the ear drum or an infected ear canal. After being medically cleared, most ear wax remedies perform adequately. As an alternative, standard peroxide solutions also work well.

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Response by:

Daniel   Choo, MD Daniel Choo, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Otology/Neurotology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati