Itchy Ears from Hearing Aids
If you have just started wearing hearing aids and are noticing that your ears are itchy, you are not alone. Around 5% of first time hearing aid wearers complain that their ears are itchy as a result of using their hearing aids. While this problem can be very irritating, rest assured that in most cases there is a simple solution that will allow you to wear your hearing aids without your ears itching all the time. Before you figure out how to tackle this frustrating problem you first need to know what is causing your ears to itch.
Common causes & solutions for itchy ears
Skin conditions: Hearing aids can sometimes exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis, and lead to flare-ups in the ears. These flare-ups can usually be treated with the same medications you currently use for these conditions, though in some cases a visit to the doctor may be warranted.
Allergic reactions: Although rare, there is a chance that your ear is having an allergic reaction to the material that the hearing aid or earmold is composed of. In this case it is possible that your hearing provider may be able to remake your hearing aids with a hypoallergenic material.
Poorly fitting earmolds: Sometimes when an earmold doesn’t fit properly your ears cannot “breathe” as they normally would, and a buildup of moisture occurs in your ears. This leads to itchiness, ear infections, and abrasions. If your ears are itching and your earmolds or hearing aids feel too tight in your ears, a remake is probably in order.
Poorly fitting ear buds: If you wear an open-fit hearing aid, the rubber dome that sits in your ear canal may be tickling the fine hairs in your ears which aren’t used to being touched. If the itching persists for more than a few days you might consider asking your hearing provider for a different sized tip.
Bacterial growth: If you wear a custom hearing aid or earmold, bacterial growth and moisture on the shell of the aid could be causing the itchiness. In this case, it is a good idea to buy a hearing aid dryer with a UV light which kills bacteria. Many people with custom hearing aids use these devices as they will also prolong the life of your hearing aids.
In general, it is a good idea to keep your ears dry and free of moisture whenever possible. In addition, avoid cleaning your ears to excess, as this strips the ears of their natural oils. It may be tempting to swab your ears with cotton, but your ear canal has a very fine, protective layer of keratin that you might be wiping away. When this layer is missing, the ear canal cracks and is more prone to itchiness and infection.
If none of the above solutions work for you, you might look in to a few different over-the-counter creams. Audiologist’s Choice Anti-Itch cream and Eargene Soothing Lotion are both popular options which work very well. Baby oil is another good all around choice for keeping ears lubricated. A few drops in the ear canal at bedtime will lubricate the skin and increase the tissue’s natural capacity to repel water.
Have you found a solution to your itchy ears which isn’t listed above? Please post a comment below and share with our readers.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.