My ear is really itchy - could it be ear wax?

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It could be ear wax, but then again, it might not be. Itching ears on their own are not a certain indication of ear wax: we would normally expect to see other symptoms, such as a partial or complete reduction in hearing, which may sometimes fluctuate and/or a feeling of fullness, tenderness or pain.

With no other symptoms, itching ears are more often a symptom of dry skin, and if that is the case, then simply applying one squirt of Earol sterile olive oil spray twice a week will usually reduce or eliminate the itchiness by moisturising the skin.

Another cause of itching ears may be a fungal infection of the outer ear. Canesten Solution is a very effective treatment and can be purchased over the counter in a pharmacy, so speak to your Pharmacist if you feel this is why your ears are itching.

On the other hand, in the absence of any pain or tenderness, it may be a symptom of a mild bacterial infection, in which case an antibacterial spray called Ear Calm may help. Ear Calm is also available over the counter, so again you should speak to your Pharmacist for advice.

Other causes of itchy ears are dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis These can cause itchy, dry, flaky, inflamed or weepy skin. The treatment for each of these conditions is quite different, so we would recommend that you see your GP for diagnosis and treatment.

If the itching gets so bad that you can't stop scratching your ear, or if you feel severe pain or a feeling like your ear is hot and burning, then that is a sign of a severe ear infection and you need to get urgent treatment: go to an A&E, Urgent Care or Walk-In Clinic so that a doctor can have a look and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Finally, if you do have some hearing loss as well as itching, then there's a good chance that it could be ear wax, and we will be delighted to remove it for you. After all, we are the ear wax removal experts!