What The Colour of Your Earwax is Telling You

In normal cases, when earwax builds up, it automatically finds its way out of the ear canal and onto the ear opening where it’s easy to get washed away when we clean ourselves during bath time.

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What The Colour of Your Earwax is Telling You

However, excessive amount of production may cause several problems. For hearing aid wearers, overproduction of earwax may reduce the efficacy of the device by blocking sound. For non-hearing aid wearers, too much production of earwax can lead to temporary hearing loss, and if left untreated, can damage the hearing for good.


Earwax 101

How is ear wax formed? Earwax, medically coined as cerumen, is a natural substance that our body secretes. It is made up of viscous secretions from sebaceous glands mixed with less-viscous ones from the sweat glands. Earwax, contrary to misconceptions, actually help the body maintain healthy ears by protecting it from debris, dirt, and other foreign substances that could possibly enter the inner ear.

Did you know that earwax can come in various colours? It can be in shades of yellow, white, brown, and even black. It can also vary in consistency and feel ranging from soft, hard, and flaky. To know more about earwax colours and what they could possibly mean, continue reading further.


The Two Types of Earwax

The types of earwax can be differentiated mainly through its colours.

  • Yellowish to brownish earwax tends to be wet and is more common to those of East Asian descent
  • White to grey shades of earwax means that the earwax is dry and is more common to other ethnicities

It’s important to keep an eye out on the characteristics of your earwax. Sometimes, they indicate something about the state of your health.


1. Dark earwax

Dark-coloured earwax or dark brown earwax is pretty normal and there’s nothing to worry about. It just means you’re aging. However, though, you ought to check if the reason that it is dark is because of blood then you should be alarmed.


2. Itchy earwax

Itchy earwax, like dark earwax, is nothing to be worried about. However, if you really can’t control the itch, it might be because you have an ear infection.


3. Leaky earwax

The only time that watery earwax is normal is after working out. In other cases that your earwax is watery, then it could be a sign of Swimmer’s ear. The moment that you notice this, it is best to consult with your doctor as soon as possible.


4. Smelly earwax

While insects don’t like the smell of earwax, to the human nose, it doesn’t have an odour. When it does, it either means that your ears have an infection or your eardrum has ruptured.


5. Flaky earwax

Having dry flaky earwax is something you should be alert with. It could be a sign of eczema. Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to be red and itchy. If you notice that you have flaky and dry earwax or crusty ear canal and skin rashes in your body, eczema may be the one to blame.


6. Yellowish or greenish earwax

If you notice that your earwax is not the normal colour than it should be, then it could be a sign of infection.


Is it good to remove earwax? When the colour of your earwax is out of the ordinary or has become alarming, best to consult with an ear doctor immediately. Don’t let it get in the way with your hearing, let alone reduce the effectiveness of your hearing aid if you are wearing one. How to get earwax out? It's best to let professionals do it. Don’t be shy and don’t hesitate to approach them. They know best about your ear’s condition and health.

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