Itchy Ear in Menopause: Reasons With 5 Solutions

Last updated 01.20.2024 | by Sabrina Johnson | 12 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


Itchy ears and menopause? Yes, you heard it right. This is one of the less common menopausal symptoms you have encountered, right? If you’ve been troubled with regular bouts of itchiness in your ears and suddenly know it is happening due to menopausal hormonal imbalances, you are bound to be surprised. But there is truth to this statement.

If we were to evaluate the prevalence of ear problems, we can say that around 15% of adults in America have hearing issues., with males being more susceptible than females.

Having said this, it is also important to mention that the hormonal fluctuations that women experience when transitioning into menopause are responsible for several physical changes – more than you can think of. If you thought that menopause was only confined to hot flashes and mood swings, you were wrong.

The other day, a lady at the doctor’s office complained of dry and itchy years, which happened quite frequently. She was surprised when her doctor told her that the hormones were responsible for the same. Well, the estrogen also impacts your ears, like it controls other parts of your body. So, a change in its levels affects your ears, too. Itchy ears aren’t a well-known symptom of menopause, but you cannot deny its occurrence.

Have you been frequently troubled with ear issues lately? Do you feel it is the play of the hormones? Then, give my article a read. I have touched upon the possible causes of itchy ears and other ear difficulties in menopause. I have even mentioned the symptoms and the management techniques.

What Are the Reasons for Itchy Ears in Menopause?

The majority of the conditions women face during menopause are because of the low estrogen levels. So, when you have an itchy inner ear, you could put the reduced estrogen to blame. Estrogen isn’t just a reproductive hormone but has many other functions.

One of the pivotal roles of estrogen is to promote water retention. The estrogen levels decline when you are in perimenopause (40-44 years ). In menopause (45-55 years on average), their numbers dwindle further.

This has an impact on the skin and also on the ear cavity’s lining. It causes the ears to become dry, increasing pruritus in the inner lining. Besides this, low estrogen can lead to other problems. These include ringing ears, earaches, hot ears, etc. Though I never faced any alarming ear troubles that needed to be mentioned, my sister often complained of ringing and itchy ears, mainly after her mid-40s.

Ear Problems One Can Face In Menopause

As mentioned above, menopause not only causes itchy ears but will trigger other conditions, too. Let us take a look at each one of them.

  • Ringing ears, medically called tinnitus, is one condition that could intensify when there is a drop in the levels of estrogen. However, knowing that a spike in these hormone levels may even result in ringing ears is essential. That’s why pregnant women are thrice more susceptible to ear ailments than those who aren’t pregnant. Hormonal changes in menopause affect blood pressure and blood flow, further aggravating the condition. Most women may go through ringing years during the menopause transition phase, which begins when a woman is 40-44. When you have noisy ears, it’s quite an uncomfortable feeling indeed.
  • Changes in the inner ear may also happen when the estrogen reduces. The mucus membranes start drying out, impacting not just your hearing but your balance. That is why when in perimenopause and menopause, it is pretty normal to have vertigo problems and even face frequent bouts of dizziness.
  • When you often find your ears blocked in your 40s and 50s, you could blame it on the changing estrogen levels. As the membranes become dried, they lose their ability to regulate the ear’s wax production. This may cause the ears to produce increased amounts of wax. When you have blocked ears, you could have a higher risk of flu infections.
  • As a woman ages, she will be more prone to hearing loss. Studies have shown that reductions in estrogen have triggered hearing loss in women[1].

What Are the Symptoms of Itchy Ears and Other Ear Conditions that Women May Face in Menopause?

Let us look at the symptoms women may go through when they have itchy ears, ringing ears, or other ear conditions during menopause:

Itchy ears are a symptom of their own, quite evident from the name, where the inner ear canal gets itchy and dried. However, with itchy ears, one may have other associated symptoms. These include:

  • Itchy throat
  • Rashes
  • Red or discolored skin
  • Ringing ears
  • Blocked or clogged ears
  • Swollen ears
  • Fever
  • Muffled hearing
  • Ear discharge or pus

When one has ringing in the ears, they may experience an array of noises, including hissing, buzzing, clicking, humming, or roaring sounds. The sounds may vary in pitch from a low humming to a loud roaring sound. One may hear the sound either in one ear or both.

When you have blocked ears, perhaps due to excessive accumulation of ear wax, you could experience signs like:

  • Fullness
  • Ear ache
  • Ringing noise
  • Cough
  • Feelings of dizziness
  • Loss of hearing
  • Smelly discharge from the ear due to infection

5 Possible Solutions to Deal With Itchy Ears and Other Ear Conditions That Women Face in Menopause

5 Possible Solutions to Deal With Itchy Ears

When your ears itch or if you have other ear conditions, it is essential to address them at the earliest, or they may exacerbate. When it comes to ear ailments, people often resort to several home remedies to get relief. There isn’t any wrong in doing the same, especially if you make the right choices. However, a doctor’s consultation is always advisable before starting any self-treatment. Here are some things to relieve yourself from itchy ears and other ear conditions.

1. Natural Remedies

If dryness is the root cause of itchy ears, then you can get instant relief by massaging your ears gently using a few drops of baby or olive oil. This remedy works better when the pruritus is a result of hearing aids. If so, ensure the drop doesn’t contact your listening device.

So, the best time to try this remedy is during bedtime. In menopause, you will already be troubled with itchy ears, and if you wear a hearing aid, your woes will increase further. That’s why this remedy will be of immense help then.

Essential oils’ role in itchy ears and other ear conditions has been much discussed. Some of the oils known for their antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties include tea tree oil, garlic oil, and basil oil. However, seeking a medical practitioner’s advice is always essential before applying it to your ears.

2. Check Your Diet

Diet significantly impacts your health, and you’ll be surprised that your eating may have an effect on your ears, too. Food allergies often trigger itchy ears. You could be allergic to any particular food. However, the typical foods likely to trigger allergies include soy, fish, nuts, shellfish, and fish.

Those with pollen allergies like hay fever are likely to be allergic to cherries, apples, kiwis, bananas, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, etc. In menopause, your ears will already be itchy due to dryness. To avoid further distress, you must watch out for what you eat. I eventually realized that nuts and seeds, especially walnuts and chia seeds, would sometimes trigger body and ear itching. I mentioned the same to my doctor and eliminated it from my diet. The allergies didn’t recur.

You should also ensure that your diet has foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, as this nutrient significantly reduces ear difficulties. It also contributes to proper hearing. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include fish, nuts, seeds like chia, walnuts, and flaxseed, and oils such as soybean, canola, and flaxseed.

3. Drink Sufficient Water

As mentioned, in menopause, estrogen cannot retain sufficient water in the body and skin. This leads to dry skin and dried ears. When you stay hydrated, it will not just take care of the dryness in your ears and skin but will also boost your overall health. My doctor would advise me to keep my water intake to an average of twelve cups daily to stay healthy.

4. OTC Medicines

When you find it difficult to cope with irritation and ear infections, seek a doctor’s advice. He may help you with OTC ear drops. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have redness or ear infection. Never purchase OTC drops without a doctor’s advice.

5. Seek Medical Help

While itchiness in the ears can be treated at home to some extent, if you have more severe problems including ringing in the ears or an ear blockage, home treatment may not always be possible. In such cases, a doctor’s consultation will be needed immediately. For instance, in the case of ringing ears, the condition needs to be diagnosed first.

Then, the treatment will start according to the severity. If earwax is making the symptoms worse, then the doctor will initiate wax removal. If the ringing noise is because of hearing loss due to aging, then an ear trumpet might be recommended.

Ear Changes in Menopause

If I were to elaborate on hearing loss, men are more prone to it than women. However, you cannot ignore the significant changes menopause brings in a woman’s body because of the reduced estrogen levels, which may impact several body functions. Your hearing might also not be spared.

Many women in their mid-40s have often told me of the alterations in their hearing than before. As mentioned, the drop in estrogen causes the mucus membrane of your inner ear to dry up. Studies have shown that hormonal changes may also alter the cochlear blood flow, affecting how you hear and perceive sounds. Women complaining of hearing difficulties in their mid-40s and 50s can attribute the changes in their auditory functioning to the lessened estrogen levels.

Natural remedies

A hydrogen peroxide-water solution mixed in equal proportions is an effective remedy for itchy ears. Apply the solution to your ears gently using a dropper. You could feel ticklish initially, but things will be okay eventually. Allow the solution to remain inside your ears for approximately five minutes. Hydrogen peroxide clears the excess wax and debris from your ears, helping to minimize itchiness.

A friend told me about the effectiveness of white vinegar for itchy ears. You must mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water and apply two drops to your ear canal. My friend tried this remedy for three days in a row, and it helped reduce itchiness.

Try using a warm compress when you do not get anything at hand. It works well in providing relief from itchiness and inflammation.

The power of aloe vera in treating several skin issues isn’t unknown. Aloe vera gel is also effective in lessening itching and inflammation in the ears.

I already mentioned the boon of olive oil for itchy ears. A kin once advised me to add garlic cloves to it for better effects. However, you should maintain caution while using garlic products for your skin as they could trigger irritation. The garlic remedy is also a no-no if your eardrum is ruptured.

Having mentioned all the natural remedies for ear pain, I would still say that if ear problems affect you constantly, seeking a doctor’s advice immediately is mandated.

FAQs

Q. Can hormone replacement therapy help for itchy ears and other ear conditions in menopause?

More studies are needed to analyze the role of menopause and hormone replacement therapy. Ringing ears could be seen in some women when HRT begins. However, eventually, hormone replacement therapy is said to have a positive effect on tinnitus, lowering its incidence to a greater extent.
A study examined the medical documents of women aged 45-79 years in the menopause phase[2]. It was found that HRT had positive effects, helping women to manage and prevent ringing ears.

Q. Can you treat ear conditions with acupuncture?

The role of acupuncture in dealing with menopause symptoms has been widely discussed. Acupuncture focuses on stimulating the nerves, also targeting the throat, neck, and head muscles. The aim is to relieve the strain on the nerves of the ears and upper neck. Women suffering from ringing ears in menopause may benefit significantly from acupuncture. However, a doctor’s consultation must be sought before opting for acupuncture.

Q. How is hearing loss caused by menopause treated?

The audiologist will first determine if menopause is the reason for the hearing loss. He will also conduct a hearing examination to understand the severity of the situation. If required, he may even prescribe a listening device to help you cope with your hearing problems.

Q. Is itchy ears a common symptom of menopause?

When we mention menopausal symptoms, hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep issues are what come to mind instantly. Menopause affects the ears as well, but that is a lesser-known symptom. Moreover, we seem to worry so much about the other changes that we do not show much concern for the hearing alterations that occur because of the changing hormone levels.

Q. Does itchy ears go away with menopause?

If the itchiness is due to hormonal imbalances, it will lessen in intensity and severity after menopause, like all other symptoms do. However, taking good care of your ears and going for regular checkups is essential.

Conclusion

When you have identified that your hearing is declining with age, do not hesitate to address it immediately.

Sometimes, you may be so indulged in dealing with your hot flashes and vaginal dryness that you tend to ignore the less common symptoms and pass it off as one of the regular health problems you often face. Intervening ear issues like ear irritation or even the ringing sound at the earliest may help you arrive at a quicker resolution.

Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.