Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Ear Canal - Itchy


  • A child who itches the ear canal
  • No crying or report of ear pain

Call or Return If

  • Itching of ear lasts more than 1 week
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic


  • Main cause (older children): using cotton-tipped swabs. This causes earwax buildup.
  • Can also be leaving soap or shampoo in the ear canal
  • Can also be caused by a piece of earwax in the ear canal.
  • Simple ear itching without other symptoms such as fever or crying is harmless. It is not a sign of an ear infection.

After Care Advice

  • Itchy ear canals are common
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
White Vinegar Eardrops:
  • For an itchy ear canal, use half-strength white vinegar. Make this by mixing the vinegar with equal parts warm water.
  • Place 2 drops in each ear canal once daily.
  • Do this for three days.
  • Reason: Restores the normal acid pH.
  • Caution: Do not use eardrops if your child has ear drainage or ear tubes. Also, do not use if your child has a hole in eardrum.
Keep Soap Out of the Ears:
  • Keep soap and shampoo out of the ear canal.
  • Reason: Makes the ears itchy.
Do Not Use Cotton Swabs:
  • Cotton swabs can push earwax back and cause a plug.
  • In older children, cotton swabs may remove all the earwax. This leads to itching and irritation.
  • Earwax has a purpose. It protects the lining of the ear canal.
  • Earwax also comes out on its own.
  • Q-tips should never be used before the teen years. Reason: They are wider than the ear canal.
What to Expect:
  • With this treatment, most itching is gone in 2 or 3 days.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2021 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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