Treatment for itchy ears

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 22.07.2022

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

When the ear itches, it is impossible to fully work and rest. However, only a doctor can suggest how to relieve itching in the ear, prescribe effective medications after the examination, having established the cause of the discomfort.

The most common reason for itching sensation in the auditory canal is the accumulation of sulfur associated with its hypersecretion or insufficiently effective exit (sulfur plug). Currently, for their dissolution and prevention of education, there are special drops for itching in the ears - cerumenolytics. They differ in chemical composition, however, have comparable efficiency, which expands the choice.

A-Cerumen neo+ is available in the form of a solution packaged in dropper bottles, the contents of which must be used up within 24 hours after opening. The drug contains surfactants (collagen hydrolyzate, coco-betaine, PEG-120 methylglucose dioleate), which gently transform accumulations of compacted and dried earwax, moisturizing and loosening its structure, but without causing swelling. The sulfuric plug dissolves gradually, while there are no hearing disorders and disturbances in the functioning of the vestibular apparatus. Moisturizers and dyes included in the solution are of natural origin. Drops do not affect the work of the ceruminous glands. After cleansing the ear canal, wax is secreted again naturally.

Side effects during application occur very rarely and are in the nature of local irritation. Pregnant and lactating women can use cerumenolytics.

The duration of treatment and dosage is prescribed by the doctor. Drops are used independently only with full confidence that the itching in the ear is caused by a sulfur plug. If there is even the slightest doubt about the origin of itching, suspicion of infection, perforation of the eardrum and other pathological causes, it is contraindicated to use A-Cerumen.

To clear the ear canal from accumulations of sulfur, the drug is instilled into each ear in the morning and evening, after heating the dropper bottle in the hand to body temperature. Use the contents of the vial completely, instilling half of the packing dose (1 ml) into the ear canal of each ear. It is not recommended to insert the tip deep into the ear canal.

No drug interactions with systemic drugs were found. When used simultaneously with other ear drops, it is necessary to maintain the time interval between instillations.

Remo-Vax drops have a similar effect. The active ingredients of the solution (phenylethanol, allantoin, benzethonium chloride, sorbic acid, butylhydroxytoluene) penetrate into the thickness of cerumen deposits in the ear canal and gradually dissolve them. Liquid lanolin and mink oil have a softening and moisturizing effect on the surface of the skin of the auditory canal, help to exfoliate its dead layer and cleanse. The drug is hypoallergenic. Overdose and drug interactions with other drugs were not observed.

Cerumenolysis is carried out by instilling about 20 drops into the ear with a solution heated to body temperature in the palm of your hand. Then you need to lie down with the treated ear up for 20-30 minutes. If plugs have formed in both ears, the procedure is repeated on the other side. In the presence of large sulfur deposits, up to five treatments per day may be required. It usually takes three to five days to clear the ear canal.

Cerumenolitics are also used to prevent the formation of sulfuric plugs, the occurrence of symptoms of "swimmer's ear". Such drops from itching in the ears are not addictive and toxic. They can be used for a long time, but the dosage and recommendations of the doctor should be followed.

Avoid contact with eyes, nose and mouth. If this happens, then the affected organs are washed with plenty of water.

Often the cause of itching in the ears are otitis - inflammation of the outer and middle ear of various origins, which is crucial when choosing a drug.

In the early stages of otitis, preference is given to drugs that have a local effect. The most convenient for the treatment of ears are liquid forms. Drops from itching and pain are available with various active ingredients. With a correctly established diagnosis, the therapeutic effect is felt literally immediately after application.

Otinum - is prescribed for acute otitis media - external and middle ear, sensations of congestion, after injuries, removal of foreign bodies and to eliminate sulfur plugs. The main active ingredient of the choline solution is salicylate, which inhibits the enzymatic activity of cyclooxygenases, preventing the synthesis of mediators of inflammation and pain. Drops have a moderate antimycotic and antibacterial effect. The presence of glycerin in the composition of the drops helps to soften dry accumulations of sulfur, facilitating their removal from the ear canal. The drug is contraindicated in patients with the aspirin triad, known hypersensitivity reactions to other NSAIDs. Not prescribed for perforation of the eardrum. The presence of salicylate makes this remedy undesirable for pregnant and lactating women, young children, since there are no reasonable data on the results of treatment of these categories of patients. Caution should be exercised in patients with vasomotor rhinitis and nasal polyposis.

A solution is instilled into the ear, heated in the palm of your hand to the level of body temperature. Three or four drops are dosed for any purpose into the external auditory canal of each ear, while the patient lies up with the treated ear and turns over to the other side 10 minutes after instillation. For therapeutic purposes, during the day, the ears are instilled three to four times, to dissolve the plugs - twice. The duration of the course of treatment should not exceed ten days. If on the fourth day there are no positive changes in the patient's condition, the doctor should choose another drug.

Otipax - a complex (phenazone + lidocaine) drug in the form of ear drops is prescribed for otitis media of colds, barotraumatic origin, as well as complications of influenza and SARS. Anesthetizes, reduces temperature, removes symptoms of inflammation. The action is felt already five minutes after the drops enter the ear, after a quarter of an hour the pain almost completely recedes. The main effect is analgesic, so drops are prescribed to patients in whom itching in the ear is accompanied by pain. Contraindicated in persons sensitized to the ingredients. It is not recommended to use in cases of violation of the integrity of the eardrum. A clinically significant systemic effect from the instillation of Otipax has not been identified, therefore, this drug can be used by pregnant and lactating women, children from the age of one month. Side effects from the use of drops - irritation, hyperemia, swelling, urticaria, increased itching in the ear canal. Buried regardless of age in a sore ear, four drops twice or thrice during the day. The maximum course of treatment is ten days.

Itching and purulent discharge from the ear are characteristic of bacterial otitis media, external and secondary, without perforation of the eardrum. Anauran - drops containing broad-spectrum antibiotics, polymyxin B and neomycin, as well as anesthetic lidocaine. The combination of antibacterial drugs ensures the death of most of the microorganisms found in otitis media. Lidocaine eliminates pain and alleviates the patient's condition during treatment. The effect of correctly prescribed drops comes quickly - the discharge from the ear disappears, the itching stops, therefore, if there is no improvement within the first few days, you should consult a doctor to change the drug. Treatment should not last more than ten days. Longer treatment can cause the development of superinfection, ototoxic effects up to complete hearing loss.

Pregnant, lactating women and children under six years of age, the drug is contraindicated. Side effects are in the nature of local skin irritation. Depending on the severity of otitis media, the doctor may prescribe from two to four drops. For adult patients, a single dose is four to five drops in each ear, for children who have reached the age of six full years, two or three drops can be instilled at a time.

Otofa - antibacterial drops based on the anti-tuberculosis antibiotic rifamycin, which inhibits the enzymatic activity of the RNA polymerase of gram-positive and gram-negative cocci, in particular - pyogenic: staphylococci, streptococci, and some other bacteria that infect the outer and middle ear. Inactivation of the RNA synthesis catalyst of pathogenic microorganisms blocks this process, which leads to their rapid death. Drops of Otof can also be used for perforation of the eardrum.

A contraindication to the appointment is hypersensitivity to the active ingredient or additional components of the drops. Pregnant and lactating women are prescribed in exceptional cases. Side effects are in the nature of local irritation - rash, hyperemia, swelling.

The recommended single dose for adult patients is five drops, the frequency of procedures is three per day. Children are instilled three drops twice. Drops are left in the ear for a few minutes, and then the head is tilted so that they flow out by gravity. The maximum period of application of Otofa drops is seven days. A longer period of treatment is possible only on prescription.

Dioxidine (hydroxymethylquinoxaline dioxide) can be prescribed in cases of ineffectiveness of other antibacterial agents for severe purulent otitis media. Ear drops with such an active substance are not released - the contents of the pharmacy ampoule are diluted (they may contain 0.5% or 1% of the active substance) independently with a hypertonic solution to a concentration of 0.1-0.2%. Outpatient treatment should be fully supervised by a doctor. The drug is toxic, part of it penetrates the systemic circulation, so it is necessary to strictly follow the recommendations for dosage and preparation of drops. Do a tolerance test before use. Drops with dioxin are contraindicated in pregnant women, lactating women, persons with impaired adrenal function. For children, the doctor can prescribe such drops only in exceptional cases.

It should be noted that the prepared solution is only suitable for a day. Only a few drops are used (one or two drops in each ear for children, three or four for adults), the rest is poured out and a new one is prepared the next day. Before instillation, it is necessary to clean the external auditory canal from pus with a cotton turunda soaked in hydrogen peroxide (3%). The drug acts quickly. The effect occurs within three to four days or the treatment is stopped. The development of side effects is also a reason for discontinuation of treatment.

In cases of severe purulent otitis media, systemic antibiotic therapy is used. The most widely used antibiotics for pain and itching in the ear are the penicillin series (amoxicillin: flemoxin, augmentin; amoxil) and cephalosporins (cefodox, cefotaxime). Often prescribe drugs from the group of macrolides - spiramycin, rosithromycin. They are considered less toxic. In the case of prolonged chronic otitis media, fluoroquinolones - ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin - can be used.

Fungal infection of the external auditory canal is treated with local antimycotic agents. Treatment of the skin with antiseptics with antifungal activity is prescribed: Castellani, Burov's liquid, solutions of amphotericin, aniline dyes, chinosol, potassium iodide (2%) and others. Before starting the procedure, the skin surface of the auditory canal is cleaned of secretions, sulfur, desquamated crusts, fragments of fungal mycelium.

Antimycotic ointments are prescribed for itching in the ears - nystatin, clotrimazole.

Nystatin ointment is especially effective for ear candidiasis, however, it can also be prescribed for aspergillosis. The polyene antibiotic nystatin is able to bind to ergosterols, which make up the cell walls of the microorganism. The destruction of the cell membrane entails the release of cytoplasmic components into the intercellular space and disrupts the viability of the cell. When applied topically, absorption practically does not occur, however, the ointment is not recommended for use in pediatric practice and for the treatment of pregnant and lactating women. Contraindicated in case of allergy to ingredients. Apply a thin layer to the affected skin surface once or twice a day. The duration of the course should not be more than ten days. It is possible to repeat the treatment course with a time interval of two to three weeks.

Clotrimazole, in addition to destroying the cell membrane of the fungus, has an additional toxic effect through interaction with mitochondrial and peroxidase enzymes with the formation of hydrogen peroxide, an increase in the concentration of which creates additional conditions for the termination of the vital activity of fungal cells. This representative of imidazoles is active against various fungi, in particular, Aspergillus and Candida, as well as against such common pathogens of purulent infections as staphylococci and streptococci. The drug is practically not absorbed into the systemic circulation. Its embryotoxicity has not been confirmed by studies, however, clotrimazole is prescribed to pregnant and lactating women with caution. In the first trimester, it is generally not prescribed, as well as hypersensitive patients.

The cream is applied in a thin layer on the skin of the ear canal twice or thrice a day. Treatment is long, on average - a month. Possible side effects are in the nature of local reactions. It is not recommended to use in combination with other antifungal agents (nystatin, amphotericin B, natamycin), since the effectiveness of treatment is reduced.

With recurrent mycosis, damage to the internal structures of the ear, systemic therapy is prescribed. In aspergillosis, itraconazole is the drug of choice, ear candidiasis is successfully treated with fluconazole or ketaconazole. Combined treatment is especially effective - a combination of tablets and external agents.

Patients with mixed infection or with an unknown type of pathogen are prescribed multicomponent preparations - candibiotics, which simultaneously have a bactericidal, fungicidal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.

Candibiotic, the so-called ear drops, which have recently gained popularity among patients and doctors. The composition of the solution includes four active ingredients that provide a wide spectrum of action of the drug.

The antibiotic chloramphenicol, better known to the general public under the trade name levomycetin, which inhibits the enzymatic activity of the main catalyst for protein synthesis in the cell of most bacteria found in otitis media.

The antifungal effect is provided to the drug by the clotrimazole component already mentioned above.

Beclomethasone dipropionate is a hormonal ingredient in ear drops that provides a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that relieves an allergic reaction not only to external irritants, but also to metabolic products of fungal and / or bacterial infectious agents. Quickly eliminates itching and otorrhea.

Lidocaine hydrochloride - almost immediately relieves pain and alleviates the patient's condition during treatment.

Drops are contraindicated in patients with intolerance to their components, are not used for lesions with the herpes virus and for suspected perforation of the eardrum. Systemic absorption is minimal, however, in order to avoid the side effects associated with it, adults are treated for no more than a week, children - no more than five days. It is forbidden to use drops for children under the age of two, pregnant and lactating women. Registered side effects in compliance with the recommended doses and duration of treatment are in the nature of local irritation.

Patients aged two to 11 full years are instilled in each ear two drops four times a day. From the age of twelve, the number of drops is increased to three or four, and the frequency of instillation is three or four times a day. Before the procedure, the patient tilts his head to the shoulder with the diseased ear up and, after instillation, maintains this position for some time, ensuring that the drops penetrate deep into the ear canal.

If the cause of itching in the ears is a deficiency of vitamins, mineral components, a decrease in immunity, the patient is recommended to introduce foods into the diet that can replenish the resulting deficiency. The doctor may prescribe vitamins and vitamin-mineral complexes to the patient.

Systemic diseases, manifested by such a symptom as itching in the ears, are treated by specialists of the appropriate profile.

Physiotherapy treatment of ear diseases often becomes a good addition to medical treatment, helping not only to eliminate the inflammatory process and pain, but also to stimulate the immune system.

The most popular method is the use of high frequency magnetic fields (UHF therapy). Medicinal electrophoresis is also used, which contributes to a faster and more efficient absorption of medicines. In the fight against ear discomfort, phototherapy, pneumomassage, diadynamics are used. Physiotherapy treatment will only benefit if the procedures are performed by a qualified specialist on the recommendation of a doctor who will take into account the patient's health status. Usually, after a weekly course of procedures, a significant improvement in well-being is already felt.

Alternative Treatment

Doctors against self-treatment for itching in the ears. Their negativism is based on the fact that after such a seemingly harmless treatment, patients, in most cases, still have to see a doctor, and it is much more difficult to eliminate the consequences of self-treatment after that.

Therefore, alternative means for the treatment of hearing problems should be used only after a diagnosis has been made and with the permission of a doctor.

Alternative medicine uses different remedies to treat itchy ears. Moreover, the same home-made preparation can not only soften accumulations of dry dense sulfur, but also disinfect the ear canal, destroying pathogenic microorganisms.

A very effective natural candibiotic is freshly squeezed walnut oil. It needs a little, literally one or two drops in each ear. Therefore, it is possible to squeeze out such an amount from half a nut kernel through a spadefoot. In order not to break the tool and make it easier for yourself to extrude, it is better to first crush the nut kernel into smaller pieces with a knife, and then squeeze it out. If there is no pipette, you can soak a wick of gauze or a cotton turunda with squeezed oil and insert it into your ear. According to reviews, the discomfort in the ear disappears literally after one or two procedures, because the walnut has powerful antiseptic properties.

A fairly safe alternative remedy for pain and itching in the ear is a pure geranium leaf. It is torn off from the plant, rolled up into a tube and inserted into the sore ear.

Aloe juice, garlic or onion has antiseptic properties. The squeezed out part of the juice is mixed 1: 1 with heated vegetable oil and put into the ear a gauze soaked in the solution (cotton wool).

Alternative healers recommend gently wiping the ear canal with hydrogen peroxide, 6% table or apple cider vinegar, laying cotton swabs soaked in boric or camphor alcohol and wrung out so that it does not flow inside. In no case should alcohol solutions, peroxide, vinegar, undiluted juice of garlic, onion, aloe be dripped into the ear. You can damage the eardrum and the mucous membrane of the ear canal.

In general, an alternative to direct instillation is this method: insert a gauze wick into the ear and instill into it, and not directly into the ear canal.

Alternative methods of treatment include treatment with phytocandles for the ears, which are sold in pharmacies. Doctors, for the most part, are skeptical about the use of this method, believing that it is unsafe to use them, you can get burned, and the effectiveness is debatable. But phytocandles have many supporters, according to whose reviews, with their help, the ear canal is perfectly cleared of sulfur accumulations, otitis media and otomycosis go away, because suppositories are made from natural beeswax with the addition of propolis and medicinal herbs. A funnel-shaped candle warms the ear when burned. In addition, phytoncides from herbs, essential oils, propolis, which is part of the product, evaporate into the ear canal. Due to this, an anti-inflammatory effect is achieved, itching and pain calm down, the sulfur plug melts, dissolves and flows out of the ear canal. Instructions for use are attached to the candles, it must be followed, observing the indicated precautions. There is a mark on the suppository, below which it should not be allowed to burn. It is better to put suppositories before going to bed, after the procedure it is undesirable to drink chilled drinks and wash your hair.

To get rid of itching in the ear, herbal treatment is used. It is recommended to instill 2-3 drops of warm chamomile infusion into the auricle. A few minutes after instillation, the ear is turned down so that the infusion flows freely.

Three drops of lavender oil are added to the infusion of calendula (a teaspoon). A cotton swab is impregnated with this composition, squeezed a little and placed in the ear before going to bed.

In case of otomycosis, an infusion of celandine is instilled into the ear or, in the summer, the ear canal is lubricated with freshly squeezed plant juice.

Before using alternative remedies, you need to be firmly confident in the integrity of the eardrum, otherwise home treatment can cause irreparable harm.


Pharmacy complex homeopathic preparations of the Heel brand: Engystol tablets and Schwef-Heel drops can help with itchy dermatoses of any localization and origin, especially those that have become chronic.

The drops contain one active ingredient Sulfur in several homeopathic dilutions. It is used as a constitutional remedy for various skin problems, including suppuration. Helps in cases of connection of dermatosis with disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and hepatobiliary system. Stabilizes the nervous system. The action of the drug is based on the stimulation of the patient's defenses. Drops are also effective in advanced cases with an associated secondary infection.

In tablets, in addition to two dilutions of Sulfur, there are three dilutions of Vincetoxicum hirundaria, which helps restore cellular immunity after viral infections, so this drug makes sense to use in cases of complications in the ears after a cold.

Homeopathic medicines should be prescribed by a doctor with special knowledge, then the treatment will be beneficial.

Classical homeopathy also has a large arsenal of remedies for the relief of itching in the ears of various origins.

Hypersecretion of sulfur, a tendency to form plugs is often one of the indications for prescribing homeopathic medicines to the patient Mercurius solubilis or Ferrum phosphoricum, itching in the ear canal and peeling - Aurum muriaticum, furunculosis of the ear canal - Hydrastis; otomycosis and bacterial otitis - Pulsatilla.

In the treatment of otitis media, including chronic ones, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Graphites, Barita carbonica are used. Itching in the ears of psychogenic origin can stop Silicea and Psorinum.

Homeopathic treatment is not so much aimed at eliminating and suppressing symptoms, but rather at improving the overall health of the patient. Preparations are selected taking into account many factors, individually, according to the constitutional type of the patient.


For the most part, problems manifested by itching in the ears are eliminated by conservative methods. Unless we are talking about a growing neoplasm, which in the initial stages develops asymptomatically, but occupying a place in the ear canal, prevents the free outflow of sulfur, which causes itching. Tumors are recommended to be treated with radical methods. With free access and small sizes, cryodestruction, radio and laser equipment, curettage are used, however, open surgery remains the main method.

With complications of purulent otitis and the spread of infection inside, an incision is made in the eardrum to ensure free flow of pus.

Instrumental removal of sulfur plugs (curettage, vacuum aspiration) is not a surgical treatment. Such manipulations are carried out in the presence of perforation of the eardrum, since washing out in this case is contraindicated.

Translation Disclaimer: The original language of this article is Russian. For the convenience of users of the iLive portal who do not speak Russian, this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.