Ear itches and hurts: possible causes, symptoms, diagnosis, doctor consultation and treatment

Otolaryngologist patients often complain that their ear hurts and itches. There are many reasons for this condition. Itching and bursting can be felt when the ear canal is blocked with a sulfur plug or if water gets into your ear. In these cases, the problem is solved easily. It is enough to cleanse the ear canal, as discomfort immediately ceases. However, itching and pain can often be signs of pathologies of the hearing organ. Next, we consider the most common causes of this phenomenon.


An allergic reaction often hurts and itches the ear inside. Cosmetics can provoke irritation: shampoos, shower gels, soap. Quite often there is an allergy to nickel, which is used in the manufacture of ear jewelry.

Nickel Allergy

Itching and discomfort in the ear are accompanied by redness of the skin and conjunctiva, as well as a runny nose and lacrimation. Such phenomena usually disappear after taking antihistamines: Suprastin, Tavegil, Diphenhydramine, Claritin.


Otitis is an inflammatory process in the ear cavity, which is most often caused by staphylococci and pneumococci. Such a pathology can occur in two forms:

  1. Otitis externa. Inflammation affects only the ear canal and the auricle. The patient itches and hurts the ear, the mucous membrane is inflamed and hyperemic. There is a ringing in the ears, possibly a persistent increase in temperature to subfebrile numbers.
  2. Otitis media. This disease is much more severe. The inflammatory process extends to the middle parts of the organ of hearing. The patient has a feeling of fullness and shooting pain deep in the ear. Unpleasant sensations radiating to the temple area. There is a discharge of pus from the ear canal and constant itching. Often a person's hearing is impaired.

With otitis media, it is necessary to undergo a course of antibacterial therapy. Prescribe antibiotics in the form of tablets for oral administration and ear drops.

The use of ear drops


This disease is an inflammatory process in the organ of hearing. With otomycosis, a person is unbearably itchy and the ear inside hurts. The cause of the pathology is the Candida yeast, which causes thrush.

Manifestations of fungal infections of the ear resemble the symptoms of bacterial otitis media. A distinctive feature of otomycosis is the expiration of cheesy white discharge from the ear canal. The disease develops as a complication of otitis media, as well as due to poor hygiene and prolonged use of antibiotics.

When examining the ear, you may notice hyperemia and white crusts in the ear canal. Fungal infection is prone to spread. The inflammatory process can go to the bone tissue and inner ear. Treatment of otomycosis is carried out using special antifungal antibiotics.


Labyrinthitis is called the inflammatory process in the inner ear. This section of the organ of hearing is responsible for balance. The first sign of the disease is severe dizziness and impaired coordination of movements. About a day after vestibular manifestations, pain, itching and tinnitus appear. Unpleasant sensations intensify with head movements and are accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Many patients have hearing impairment.

Dizziness with labyrinthitis

What to do if the patient is dizzy and at the same time his ears hurt and itch? How to treat labyrinthitis? This disease, like otitis media, is bacterial in nature. Therefore, the appointment of antibiotics is necessary. As symptomatic therapy, antiemetics are used.


At the beginning of a viral catarrhal disease, the patient often has a sore throat and itchy ears. Usually, SARS begins with an unpleasant scratching in the nasopharynx, and then the inflammation passes to the throat. These ENT organs are closely interconnected with the ear canal. Therefore, the sensation of mild itching and pain spreads to the ear area. In this case, patients have other symptoms:

  • runny nose;
  • nasal congestion;
  • general malaise;
  • a slight increase in temperature.
ARVI - the cause of itching in the ear

Treatment of acute respiratory viral infections is extremely symptomatic. After recovery, all unpleasant sensations in the throat and ear disappear. If ear pruritus persists after a cold, then this may be a sign of otitis media. Inflammation of the outer or middle ear is a common complication of SARS.


At the beginning of a sore throat, patients often complain that they have a sore throat and itchy ears inside. In this case, a person does not have a runny nose or cough. The following symptoms are noted:

  • a sharp increase in temperature;
  • severe redness of the throat;
  • purulent plugs on the tonsils;
  • pain when swallowing;
  • weakness;
  • temperature rise.

Therapy of this disease is carried out using antibiotics of the penicillin group. At the same time, gargling is prescribed with antiseptics: "Furacilin", "Chlorhexidine", "Miramistin".


A boil is called purulent inflammation of the hair bulb. This disease is most often caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Such ulcers often occur in the auricle and ear canal. Moreover, the patient is very sore and the ear is itching, because this area is equipped with a large number of nerve endings and is extremely sensitive. With large boils, patients complain of a sensation of a foreign object in the ear.

With boils, local treatment with antibacterial ointments is indicated. They are applied to the turunds and placed in the ear canal. In many cases, this leads to a breakthrough of the abscess, after which the patient's condition improves. In complex cases, the boil is opened surgically.

Ear mite

Damage to the organ of hearing by tick-borne parasites is called otacariasis. The causative agents of the disease are:

  • ixodid ticks;
  • demodex.

Ixodid ticks do not live in central Russia; they can be found only in southern countries with a tropical climate. However, people often bring them from rest. This type of tick grows to large sizes and is clearly visible. When it is bitten, a person is very sore and ear itches, crawling and the presence of a foreign body in the ear canal are felt. This parasite cannot dwell in the ears for a long time, so pain and itching soon disappear on their own. In order to get rid of this type of ticks, it is enough to rinse the ear with alcohol.

Ear demodecosis is much more dangerous. This disease causes a demodex tick. It lives on the skin of most people, but shows its activity only with a decrease in immunity. The parasite has microscopic dimensions and cannot be detected with the naked eye. Signs of ear demodicosis are as follows:

  • painful itching;
  • soreness in the ear canal;
  • redness of the mucosa;
  • sensation of crawling inside the ear.
Mite demodex

Insecticidal ear drops and ointments are used to treat demodicosis. Antihistamines are prescribed orally to relieve itching.

Idiopathic itching

In some cases, it is not possible to establish exactly why the ear itches and hurts a person. When examining an organ of hearing using an otoscope, no pathologies are detected. In such cases, doctors talk about idiopathic itching. Pain occurs as a secondary symptom. Its cause is combs of the auricle and ear canal.

However, in the body, nothing happens for no reason. Most often, such itching occurs due to impaired functioning of the receptors of the ear mucosa. In some cases, this symptom may be psychogenic in origin.

What to do if the patient's ears hurt and itch for no apparent reason? How to treat this kind of itching? In this case, sedatives and antidepressants are needed. Regular ear drops and antihistamines do not help relieve idiopathic itching.


For complaints of pain and itching in the ear, an ENT doctor examines an organ of hearing using an otoscope. This allows you to identify pathological changes in the ear canal and eardrum. To clarify the diagnosis, a number of tests and examinations are prescribed:

  • ear swab with bacosow;
  • samples with allergens;
  • demodex mite analysis;
  • general clinical studies of blood and urine;
  • MRI and CT of the inner ear;
  • audiometry (to assess the quality of hearing).
Ear examination

If you suspect an idiopathic itching, the patient needs to consult a neurologist and a psychotherapist.

Local treatment

What to do if a person has a sore ear and itches inside? Treatment will depend entirely on the cause of these manifestations. After all, such a symptom occurs with a variety of pathologies. Unpleasant sensations will disappear only when their etiology is eliminated.

With painful itching and severe pain in the ears, not only etiotropic, but also symptomatic treatment is necessary. Indeed, discomfort in the ear canal often deprives patients of sleep. To reduce discomfort, ear drops are prescribed:

  • Sofradex
  • Otofa.
  • Otinum.
  • "Clotrimazole" (with otomycosis).
  • "Polydex".
  • Otipaks.
  • Otisol.
Drops for Otof's ears

It is important to remember that these remedies only reduce inflammation and itching. However, they do not always affect the cause of the pathology. Inflammatory diseases of the organ of hearing, as a rule, require complex treatment.

With severe itching, you need to try not to comb your ears. This can lead to infection in the wounds and suppuration. To get rid of unpleasant sensations, it is better to use ear drops. They reduce mucosal irritation.


How to prevent diseases accompanied by itching and pain in the ears? It is necessary to adhere to the following recommendations of otolaryngologists:

  1. It is very important to cure the viral and bacterial pathologies of the throat and nose in time. Such diseases quite often give complications to the organ of hearing.
  2. It is necessary to carefully conduct hygiene of the ear canal, avoiding injury to the mucosa. In this case, use cotton swabs. Introducing sharp objects into the ear canal is unacceptable.
  3. When swimming, you must wear a rubber cap on your head.
  4. Allergy sufferers should avoid exposure to irritating substances.
  5. It is necessary to take measures to strengthen the immune system: do gymnastics, spend enough time in the fresh air, do hardening. Parasitic and fungal lesions of the ears usually occur when the body's defenses are weakened.
  6. It is necessary to periodically disinfect objects in contact with the ears (mobile phones, headphones, etc.).
  7. Routine examinations should be regularly performed at the otolaryngologist.

It is important to remember that if you experience discomfort in your ear, you must urgently visit the otolaryngologist. Self-medication with such pathologies is extremely dangerous. Only timely treatment will help to avoid complications and maintain hearing acuity.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/A12775/

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