Hearing Health and Dermatology: Managing Ear Conditions and Hearing Aids

Posted 01 August 2023
Learn about the relationship between hearing health and skin conditions, including infections, irritations, and chronic skin conditions affecting the ears.

Hearing Health and Dermatology: Managing Ear Conditions and Hearing Aids

When discussing skin conditions, we often think of rashes on the arms or dry skin on the face, but few realize that these issues can also affect our ears. Dermatitis, eczema, and other skin-related conditions can irritate the ears and lead to hearing health problems. In this article, we will explore the connection between hearing aids and skin, the conditions that can impact hearing, and effective management strategies.

Infections and Temporary Irritations

Just like any part of the body, the ears are susceptible to various forms of irritation and infections, including the eardrum, vestibular system, and bones. The skin on the outer ears can also be affected by infections and irritations, such as:

  • Otitis Externa: Commonly known as "Swimmer's Ear," this condition involves inflammation of the ear canal and is often caused by fungal infections or excessive water in the ears. Untreated, it can lead to issues like hearing loss, but early treatment with steroids and antibiotics is effective.

  • Hearing Aids and Earbuds: Prolonged use of hearing aids and earbuds can cause ear canal irritation due to bacterial buildup. Regular cleaning and removing them when not in use can prevent this problem.

  • Contact Dermatitis: This skin irritation is caused by allergens and irritants, leading to red, itchy, and sometimes flaky skin. It can make wearing hearing aids uncomfortable, but it's usually temporary and treatable with emollients and topical steroid creams.

  • Allergies: Allergens like pollen and dust can get trapped in hearing aids, causing allergic reactions. Hypoallergenic hearing aid domes and antihistamines can help manage allergies.

Chronic Skin Conditions

Chronic skin conditions are prevalent, affecting about 60% of the UK population at some point. Several skin conditions can impact hearing health, including:

  • Psoriasis: This condition results from the overproduction of skin cells, leading to flaky patches. When it affects the ears, it can cause blockages in the ear canal and temporary hearing loss due to quick skin cell regeneration.

  • Eczema: Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema causes dry, itchy, and cracked skin. It can affect the ears and make wearing hearing aids uncomfortable.

  • Seborrheic Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin in areas with many sebaceous glands, including the ears, can cause discomfort and flaky skin. It is a chronic condition that can be managed with over-the-counter creams and lotions.

Taking care of both your hearing health and skin is essential to avoid potential issues and discomfort. Regular cleaning of hearing aids, avoiding irritants, and seeking professional help for chronic skin conditions can ensure optimal ear health. If you have concerns about your hearing, our experienced Clinical Ear Care team at the Hearing Care Centre is here to assist. Book an appointment today by calling 01473230330 or visiting https://www.hearingcarecentre.co.uk/special-pages/make-a-booking