Itchy Ear Relief After 15 Years
After 15 years, I finally have itch-free ears!
If you are reading this article, you are probably suffering from itchy ears, or perhaps you know someone who is. First off, let me tell you I'm sorry to hear that. I can relate to your frustration!
I have suffered from itchy, dry, flaky ears for over 15 years. I have been guilty of obsessively cleaning them with cotton swabs, scratching them with my fingers, paper clips, bobby pins, pretty much anything that will fit in my ear and provide a minute of relief. I have cleaned my ears in the shower, purchased "earwax removal" kits, and have even tried to leave my ears alone only to find that they generate a thick layer of crusty, flaky, gross stuff.
I have been prescribed ear drops, which were basically an expensive oil, and when I put it in my ear I always felt like it missed the area that was bothering me. Even when I put the oil right on the affected area it didn't help clear up the problem - although it did feel nice at first.
After suffering from this condition for so many years, I had almost accepted it as part of who I am. Not a day has gone by in these past 15 years where I haven't had a finger shoved in my ear scratching out flakes of dried skin. I have even woken up my girlfriend by scratching my ears while I'm sleeping! Itchy ears have been an embarrassing part of my day to day life, and in recent years it had become so bad that it was visible to people around me.
I am sharing this frustrating and embarrassing story with you because I know I'm not alone. I have read online forums and discussion groups in which other people have complained about the same thing - so I know you are out there.
I finally found relief for my itchy ears. I will share my story here.
The Good News
So, how did I finally find relief after all these years? Well, after I returned from a business trip in Las Vegas I noticed my skin was very dry all over. The skin on the back of my legs was so dry it was starting to crack. It hurt to walk, and it looked like I had a terrible rash on my legs. I made an appointment with my new doctor, and he quickly saw that I had eczema. He brought out a textbook and showed me images of people with bad eczema, and sure enough, it looked like I had it. One image was of an ear, and he stopped on that page and said that eczema really likes the ears. We started talking about my ears, and he took a look and said that it was the same thing as what I had on my legs. The treatment would be the same; a steroid cream.
He told me that eczema does not go away, but I could prevent it by staying moisturized after showers, and only using steroid cream during breakouts. I asked about preventing it in my ears and he said there is no real prevention for it, and to just treat it with cream when I have a flare-up. He said the cream would take about a week to clear everything up and that the steroid cream would become my new best friend.
Let me tell you that it took only a few days to clear up my ears and skin! The cream worked so quickly, and I experienced itch-free ears for the first time in over 15 years. It was almost enough to bring me to tears when I realized I didn't have to suffer anymore and that I could manage my condition. Have you ever heard someone say that depressed people sometimes forget what it feels like to be happy? Well, I had forgotten what it felt like to have normal, itch-free ears.
The Bad News
A few days after starting treatment, I noticed my right ear was swelling and starting to become painful. My left ear was clear and feeling great, so I knew it was not the cream giving me a bad reaction. It turns out I had developed an infection in my right ear, most likely from all the scratching I did before I was prescribed the steroid cream! It is ironic that for years I had been scratching at my ears, risking infection, and it never happened. But now, the last time I scratch my ears, I get a lovely infection. I would have to wait a little bit longer for total, complete ear relief.
Now, I know that for those of you like me with itchy ears you already know you should not be sticking anything into your ear, but I also understand how maddening the itching can be. Just a piece of advice - try not to do it. Go to the doctor and talk about a steroid cream because it helped me. I think it can help you, too!
I had forgotten what it felt like to have normal itch-free ears.
Itchy Ear Poll - (everyone can take this poll - not just Squidoo members)
How long have you suffered from itchy ears?
Cleaning Your Ears at Home
It is important not to over-clean your ears, however, sometimes we all need some relief from too much wax buildup. If you are going to clean your ears, do it right. When you have your ears cleaned at the doctor's office, they typically use a syringe to gently flush out your ear with lukewarm water, catching the drainage in an ear basin. Buying your own basin and syringe is well worth it to save you money in the long run on doctor visits.
The syringe featured below is designed to be used in your ear, and the tip is shaped to reduce the risk of over-insertion. The basin is also designed for ear-wax removal and is shaped to fit against your head right under your ear. That way, you can clean your ear at home without making a big mess.