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What Causes Itchy Ears and Throat?

a hearing test administered to a young child

Itching sensations in the ears or a scratchy throat are fairly common symptoms of several different health issues. In a lot of cases, it is nothing to worry about, and the symptoms will pass in a few days. However, if the problem does not clear up on its own, that could be a sign of something more serious, and you should see an ENT doctor to get yourself checked out. These are some of the most common causes of itchy ears and throat.

The common cold

If you have a scratchy throat, it is usually caused by the common cold. You will notice the other common symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and congestion. We’ve all experienced this before, and we know that it passes in a week or so without the need for any treatment. You can use simple over the counter medications to alleviate your symptoms, but there is no need to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. However, if your itchy throat persists for a long time and you do not experience the other symptoms of the common cold, that could be a sign that you have a specific throat health issue, in which case, you should see an ENT doctor and get yourself checked out.

Allergies

Allergies are another very common cause of itchy ears and throat. One of the most common allergies that people experience is allergic rhinitis, or as you probably know it, hay fever. People with hay fever have an allergic reaction to pollen, dust mites or animal fur. It causes an itching sensation in the ears and a scratchy throat and mouth. It affects people most in the summer when the pollen count is high, but some over the counter medication should alleviate the symptoms.

As well as hay fever, you may experience itchy ears and throat health issues due to an allergic reaction to food. These allergies can develop later in life, so do not discount this explanation because you have not been allergic to anything in the past. Some food allergies can be very dangerous, so it is important that you seek medical advice if you think that you may have one.

Certain medications can cause allergies as well, and this may lead to an itching sensation in the ears and throat. If you notice these symptoms emerging at the same time as starting a new course of medication, you should speak with your doctor and see if there are any alternatives that you could take instead.

Ear infections

Ear infections are a very common cause of itching in the ear, especially during the early stages as the infection is first starting to develop. Ear infections can be caused by a build-up of fluid in the inner ear or an excess of wax. If you suspect that you may have an ear infection, you should see an ENT doctor and they will recommend treatment. In most cases, you will be given a course of antibiotics to fight the infection. However, if the ear infection does not clear up, there are surgical procedures available to drain the ear of fluid and clear out the infection.

Bacterial and viral infections

If you notice that you have a sore, itchy throat, it may be down to the common cold. However, it could also be caused by more serious bacterial and viral infections that affect throat health. Things like strep throat or tonsillitis will cause itchiness in the throat, which will develop into a very sore throat over time. It is best to get checked by an ENT doctor so you can catch the infection in the early stages and get treated with antibiotics right away.

Dry ears

Wax and oil in the ear help to stop the skin from drying out, but a lot of people do not realize that they play an important role, so they clean it out too often. If you clean your ears too much, you will remove all of the wax and oil and your ears will dry out, causing them to itch. If this is the case, you will also notice dry, flaky skin around the ear canal. If you cut back on your ear cleaning routine and allow the natural wax and oils to build up again, you should notice an improvement. However, if your ears are still itching, there may be another issue, so you should seek the advice of an ENT doctor.

Itchy ears and throat may just be caused by the common cold, but they could also be a sign of something more serious. If you have experienced these symptoms, do not hesitate to get in touch with ENT Specialists at 402-397-0670 right away.