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poofandmook's avatar

Can you be allergic to your own earwax?

Asked by poofandmook (17272points) September 9th, 2008

I feel like I’ve asked this question before, but I went back 80 pages and couldn’t find it. And I don’t have the answer, so I suppose I haven’t.

The insides of my ears get extremely itchy, to the point where sometimes my toes curl and I have to ball my fists to keep from sticking something in my ear. A doctor (not my own, I keep forgetting to ask him) I saw once to have the wax flushed out… because I get really clogged fairly often… said that it was wax that was making my ears itch, and that I should use Debrox once a week.

Since everyone produces earwax, and I don’t see anyone else balling their fists to keep from shoving things in their ears, it seems unlikely that it’s simply the wax. Can I be allergic to it?

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12 Answers

MacBean's avatar

Hm… This happens to me, too, if I don’t clean my ears out twice a day or more. It never occurred to me to think it might be an allergy, though. Now I wonder, too!

augustlan's avatar

I’d say no allergy…I have the same problem. Maybe it’s just something we’ve never talked about with others, so we think we’re the only ones!

AstroChuck's avatar

You aren’t eating it, are you?

shockvalue's avatar

Stop eating it, you’ll be fine.

marinelife's avatar

It’s not an allergy. Here is a site with an explanation and treatment ideas (excerpt follows):

“Earwax is a recycling center. Most of the time, your ears produce just enough protective wax to trap dust in your ear canal and move it to the ear opening. Then the wax and dust are bathed away whenever you wash around your ears.

But sometimes the wax gets all jammed up-which is uncomfortable, annoying and sometimes downright itchy. Not only that, wax-plugged ears are more susceptible to infection.”

poofandmook's avatar

@Marina: Thanks for the link. I read that also, but I still can’t fathom how simply too much wax could be so unbearably itchy. A little itchy, maybe. But this is like “yowzers!” itchy.

@chuck & shock: tell that to my cats who love nothing more than a used Q-Tip. nothing.

MacBean's avatar

Ooooh. I used to get ear infections ALL THE TIME when I was younger. It stopped when I was in my pre-teen years, though—right about when I started obsessively swabbing them. I never made that connection until I read your answer, Marina.

AstroChuck's avatar

You can be allergic to anything, but I would think it unlikely. Make an appointment with your doctor. He/She should know how to get this in control.

hearkat's avatar

I am not an allergy specialist, but I can’t fathom that one can be allergic to something that is produced by their own body. However, I am an Audiologist and work for a group of Ear, Nose & Throat physicians and ear itching us a common complaint.

I personally get itching in my ears when my seasonal allergies act up… I suspect it is the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory system (which includes the Eustachian tubes) reacting to the irritant. My ear itching will preceed nose itching and subsequent sneezing by a few minutes.

I have also had severe itching in the ear canal and it is incredibly distracting!! For most of our patients (and myself, admittedly) it is from OVERuse of cotton swabs which causes irritation of the thin skin and cilia that are the ears’ self cleaning mechanism (along with the wax). The swab causes tiny abrasions that get infected with bacteria or fungus which causes the itching.

Our Doctors usually prescribe Q-tip abstinence, and some drops to clear up infections. Talk to your Dr. or an ENT to have it checked.

XrayGirl's avatar

I would see a doc about it. sounds annoying.

XrayGirl's avatar

sounds dirty

Salty's avatar

For itchy ears or to much wax, I use hydrogen peroxide. Leave it in for about 10 minutes. Sometimes there is sizzling and crackling noise. That is a sign that there is a fungus or bacteria in the ear canal. The peroxide has never hurt me. Also when i feel a cold coming on, out comes the peroxide. And the cold is gone almost instantly. Or if you have the cold already and are all stuffed up. This treatment will help you. My mother used to use it when I was a kid. Old treatments are the best. I don’t think you could be allergic to your own earwax. Sounds kinda unreal to me.

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