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My Stubborn Case of Ear Eczema

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 swimmers ear many times. I finally learned to use alcohol/white vinegar treatment to dry them and prevent infections.

It started with intense itching

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.

Visiting the family physician

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 was 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.

Diagnosed 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.

Persistent symptoms

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 ear drum 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 it set up. ($50 co-pay + procedure cost). I have learned that I can go 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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Comments

  • Emily
    7 months ago

    As I’m reading your story, I’m just screaming to myself, “SAAAAME!”
    It’s amazing how such a tiny place can bring so much suffering. I’ve been dealing with ear canal eczema for 3 years and I’ve found zero relief.
    I have found that alcohol and sugar makes it worse. Vinegar helps a bit. When I wash my hair I use head and shoulders (bc I have seborric dermatitis on my scalp too) and I put a little of the shampoo in my ear and that helps.
    Good luck friend.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    7 months ago

    It’s good to know you can relate, @emily! You definitely are not the only one dealing with stubborn ear eczema! You might find interest in this forum where members of the community have shared about how they treat their ears (https://atopicdermatitis.net/topic/ear-eczema/). It would be great if you added a comment about vinegar! We hope that this community can be a place of mutual support. It can be a struggle for sure! -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • jvcxtwo
    1 year ago

    I too have ear eczema which plagues me constantly- both in ear canal and outside ear. I try cortisone cream as per dermatologist but it never clears up. The cycle can be quite angry at times. I try peroxide, aquaphor, vinegar, noxema, etc whether crusty, weeping, swollen. My ear has become infected and ENT prescribed ear drops. I have even developed vertigo a couple of times during a bad flare but dr thinks not connected- I do. I have considered elimination diet to see if allergies are cause. Otherwise I just try the cortisone cream longer than recommended then weather the withdrawal. I have had eczema off and on on body, hands but these past years have settled in ears with occasional in elbows or sporadic places on my body. Glad to have a site where I can read of other treatments. Thanks.

  • Jeff Ten Broeck moderator
    7 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your experience with eczema, @jvcxtwo. As a fellow eczema patient, I can relate to the frustration you must be experiencing with the whole trial and error process. I hope you’re able to find some relief soon!

    Take care,

    Jeff (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

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