Dear Dr. Roach: I am turning 68 years old tomorrow. For the past couple of months, my ear canals have been very itchy. Also, my wife was constantly cleaning earwax out of my ears. Now for some reason I no longer produce earwax, but my ears itch a lot. Do you have any idea what may be causing this? How do I stop the itching? I have tried olive oil. It seems to work but not really that well. A doctor looked in my ear and said the ear canals look fine. - R.K.
Answer: Happy birthday.
Itching in the ear canals is common, but usually an exam is able to lead the examiner to at least suspect a diagnosis. An incipient ear infection is one common reason, but your issue has been going on for months. Skin conditions that itch, such as eczema, is another common one. The doctor might have seen this, but sometimes the findings are subtle. Just having dry skin is a common cause, especially in winter, and olive oil is one treatment, but if it isnt working its time to stop.