Itching Ears


And now for something completely different...

A friend asked me about this recently and I responded with a lot of detail. Posting it here so I don't lose it. Hope it helps someone.

How do I treat persistently itching ear canals?

I have been fighting with the same problem for several years. Tried everything. Read a lot. Here's what works best for me...

First... have found no permanent solution. Just treatments that have to be repeated every few days.

Second... most common cause of itching is soap/shampoo in the ears. Use the mildest thing you can when washing hair and face and dry out ear canals well afterward. I even use blow dryer for this. Dermatologist got me on Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap years ago and I use it in place of shampoo as well. It contains more oils than any other soap. Lather once to remove grease (sweat and hairspray). Rinse. Lather again to put oils back in that make hair smooth and soft (not stuck together). Rinse.

On Q-tips... Without them, this problem is pretty much only treatable by a physician (read: expensive). Since the Rich are preventing Democrats from having the money for constant medical care, we are left to our own devices. Read on...

On Q-Tip Safety...

1) NEVER use Q-Tips on someone else because you cannot know when you reach the eardrum. I dated a girl years ago whose mother cleaned her ears out with hydrogen peroxide regularly. Her eardrum had been punctured for years and we paid for her to have surgery to rebuild it because her Pentecostal parents refused to. Hydrogen Peroxide is good for lots of things, but I'm not a fan of using it on semi internal mucus membranes like ear canals.

2) NEVER use both ends of the Q-Tip in different ears! That just gives you 2 ears itching instead of 1 at a time. Don't know why they continue to make them double-ended other than the cotton ball makes it easier to hold onto.

3) Insert Q-tip VERY SLOWLY into YOUR OWN EAR with slight pressure against roof of ear canal. Gravity makes wax collect on floor of canal.

4) Listen for the individual threads sticking out from Q-Tip to start brushing your eardrum and STOP when you hear/feel them. NEVER PUT PRESSURE ON EARDRUM. It hurts and it can puncture it. If punctured, water from washing/swimming will enter middle-ear which will cause the most painful infection you've ever experienced.

5) On reaching the eardrum, press down LIGHTLY and pull out, using the Q-Tip to pull the wax out of ear.

On Treating the Itch...
What we just did irritates the ear canal, so actually can make itch worse. But we need fairly clean canal in order to treat it.

Apply any of the following to one end of a clean Q-Tip and gently swab the ear canal:

For intense itching, can use antibiotic plus pain reliever cream. It's the pain reliever that actually stops the itching and the cream soothes the irritated skin. Haven't found a non-antibiotic formulation of this though. Cream is better than ointment because it soaks in.

Next most effective is Chest Rub (Vicks VapoRub or Metholatim). VapoRub and generic Chest Rub are just petroleum jelly (Vaseline) with 2.6% menthol in it. The jelly moisturizes the skin and protects it from fungus and bacteria. It's the natural menthol that treats the itching. The greater the percentage menthol the more effective -- BUT too strong burns, thus making it worse. 2.6% seems okay for ears. Can use stronger concentrations for flea bites, etc. on extremities as that skin is tougher. Most muscle "hot/cold" sprays and such as just high concentrations of menthol (12-16%). Do Not Use In Ears!

For maintenance and minor itching, can just use plain petroleum jelly or any oil like Mineral Oil (very cheap) or olive oil. They used to sell little bottles of "sweet oil" for ears but it was just olive and/or mineral oil I think.

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