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January 1989

Itchy Ear Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Bahrain Defence Force

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(1):109. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860250111039

To the Editor.—In our clinical practice, we come across a large number of patients with an itching sensation in the ear canal that is not associated with other allergic disorders.

Otitis externa, caused by bacterial, fungal, or other identifiable agents, is excluded. The existence of allergic otitis externa had been well documented in the literature.1,2 Since there are no inflammatory changes in the ear canal, it is inappropriate to label the aforementioned patient as having "allergic otitis externa." Hence, the term itchy ear syndrome is suggested.

The cause of an itching sensation in the ears of these patients is not yet known, although release of histamine and leukotrienes3 have been implicated in similar symptoms of the eyes, nose, and throat. The symptoms are worse during the hot, humid, and dusty summer months.

Instillation of otic drops containing steroids in an oil medium (eg, flumethasone pivalate [Locacorten-Vio-form]) form])