My Stubborn Case of Ear Eczema

My history: I have had problems with my ears since my late teen years which is over 30 years ago. I was on the swim team during my teen years and had swimmer's ear many times. I finally learned to use alcohol/white vinegar treatment to dry them and prevent infections.

Intense itching in my ears

In the next 5 years after, I developed eczema in my ears. The first symptom was intense itching. I hate to admit it but I would itch them and try to pull out what I thought was just excess wax but later realized it was also dead skin from eczema.

I learned that doing this caused weeping and would clog my ears even more. I would get to the point where my hearing was completely blocked and it would turn into an infection.

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Visiting my doctor

I went to my family physician each time this happened. He would irrigate my ears to try to clean them out. This helped but the itching continued. After about 6 months they would be clogged up again. This cycle continues for several (5-7) years.

One of the last times at the family physician, one of my ears were stopped up and swollen so bad that he took the back end of a wooden cotton stick and tried to open it to put the wick in. The was the most excruciating pain I have ever had.

An ENT diagnosed me with ear eczema

I finally went to an ENT doc. He diagnosed me with eczema in my ears. He used an ear vacuum to clean out my ears as well as Ciprodex for the infection. He told me to never go to the family physician since he didn’t have the proper equipment. He also prescribed Clobetasol for the eczema. The clobetasol seems to work okay but the itching still continued.

What have I learned?

I have learned over the years to try my best to just deal with the itching the best I can. My ears continue to have intense itching and build up and now it seems to go straight for my eardrum making my hearing muffled and eventually completely blocked.

I can’t afford to go to the ENT 3x a year because of the way my insurance is set up. ($50 co-pay + procedure cost). I have learned that I can go to the family physician to have them irrigated to save on cost IF there is no infection. I just use an antibiotic ear drop for a couple of days to prevent infection.

I know eczema is not curable but I want to find something that minimizes the itching and build-up - What can I use for eczema in my ears?

What is your experience with eczema?

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