Allergic reactions differ from person to person. Some have runny noses, others have watery eyes. In my case, however, the most common and most unbearable reaction was (as a child) and continues to be MIDDLE EAR ITCH.
After fifteen years of weekly allergy shots, I have far fewer incidents of runny nose and watery eyes. What has not changed, unfortunately, is the middle ear itch triggered by dust, polen, mold, animal hair, and certain foods (especially nuts and dairy products).
As a child I was told there was nothing I could do for middle ear itch other than take antihistamines or take a hot shower (which is impossible when you are in public). Considering the multitude of antibiotics I was taking, I did not want to risk more damage to my bladder via antihistamines. Therefore, regretfully, I took up a few measures of my own.
I usually inserted a Q-tip into my ear and massaged what seems to be the eardrum itself. Sometimes, however, the itch seems so deep inside that a Q-tip would not suffice. In those cases I would roll a kleenex or napkin into a spike and force it against my eardrum. Now, at the age of 26, I do experience pain in my eardrums. (Note: This may instead be due to two tube ventilation operations I had.)
I am posting this message for two reasons...
First, a search on google for middle ear (or inner ear) itch turned up very little. I feel terrible for any child out there suffering from this rarely discussed problem. If you have a young child who is constantly rubbing their ears (especially when outdoors in the spring, or when near dust in the home), they may be SILENTLY suffering.
Second, I'm hoping someone else who suffers from intense middle ear itchiness will read this and reply with their story. Do you have any tips or remedies? Do you have pain in your eardrum from using Q-tips or kleenex spikes?
Lastly, I want to post a few phrases which will turn up on google in case someone is searching for information on this rarely-discussed issue.
Just wanted to make a suggestion. From your description of being able, and not quite being able to massage the itch with a Q-tip. It sounds like the itching is located more in your middle ear than inner ear. The area you have been putting your Q-tip into(potentially quite dangerous by the way!)is your outer ear, on the other side of your ear drum is your middle ear (containing small bones), then on the other side of the oval window comes the inner ear. Might be worth doing a search for middle ear itch, good luck, xx
Hmmm, a google search for "middle ear itch" turned up no results, while a search for "inner ear itch" yielded 25 results. Of course, google is not a physician.
I'm interested in what you have to say about these two points...
As I understand it, fluid/blood develops in the inner ear during an allergic reaction. I *think* it's the fluid/blood that causes the itchiness. I also think that massaging the eardrum moves the fluid/blood around, however slightly, such that the itchiness goes away for a few moments.
Another theory I have is that massaging the eardrum distracts your mind from the itchiness.
Just to say, likewise I am no physician, however although allergies can affect all areas of the ear the symptoms will vary, in fact it appears that itching from allergy generally occurs in the ear canal (outer ear), although obviously deep in the ear canal in your case!
I found this little bit of info about how allergies affect the different areas of your ear:
Allergy and the Ears
Chronic itching or frequent infections of the ear canal.
Repeated ear infections and long-standing fluid behind the eardrum. Both of these are more common in children.
Dizziness, ear fullness and pressure, tinnitus or head noise, and sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss may be due to allergy – especially food allergy. Meniere’s disease in one or both ears may sometimes be aggravated by allergies.
Does'nt prove anything I know, but from what I do know about inner ear problems, if you were having allergic responses in this area you would probably feel it in ways other than itching, probably including dizziness and/or hearing abnormalities. Fluid build up would also be more likely in the middle ear, which would result in pain rather than itching.
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that, after seeing the diagram of the ear, what I am experiencing must either be MIDDLE EAR or OUTER EAR ITCH -- otherwise, the itchiness could not be quelled by massaging a q-tip on the eardrum.
I will read all the information you have both given me, but in the meantime, I would like to ask...
I'm leaning toward the MIDDLE EAR account, since massaging merely the canal (with round motions) does NOT stop the itch. It seems when I hit the eardrum, exactly on the right spot, it is like sheer ecstasy. I cannot explain to you how heavenly it feels to STOP the itch.
But my question is, am I risking hearing damage by massaging my eardrum with a q-tip? I'm stuck between that (obviously not a good idea) and taking antihistamines (which could damage my liver and bladder, considernig the tons of antibiotics I've taken since childhood).
What do you guys think?
Note: I promise I will not practice any advice given to me without first consulting my Doctor.
[This message has been edited by corporeal (edited 09-03-2003).]
Hi there, erm, yes, you're not going to help the situation by massaging your ear drum. You should'nt actually put anything in the ear canal as you run the risk of damaging the ear's "self cleaning" system, making you more prone to wax build up and ear infections. You are also risking perforating yor ear drum - not good!!!!. I also suspect that if you have inflammation there as a result of the allergy you are just going to further aggravate this by poking around in there.
Check out the dermatitis I mentioned above, you never know, if your other symptoms are all under control your itchy ear may not be due to allergy at all.