7 Things Your Earwax Reveals About Your Health

Earwax is a yellowish, waxy material inside the ear that comes from the sebaceous gland in the ear canal. It is also known as cerumen. Earwax lubricates, cleans, and protects the lining of the ear canal. It does this by repelling water, trapping dirt, and ensuring that insects, fungi, and bacteria do not get through the ear canal and harm the eardrum. There are certain things your earwax could reveal about your health – check them out!

Your earwax is green or yellow

“Normal earwax ranges from light orange to dark brown, but if it’s yellow, green, white, or black, that suggests an infection and you need to see a doctor,” says Benjamin Tweel, MD, an otolaryngologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Infections can just “pop up,” with doctors unable to pinpoint the exact cause, but things like swimmers ear, where water remains in the ear, can also trigger an ear infection.

Your earwax is flaky

If your earwax and ear canal skin is flaky and dry, it could actually be eczema. “People can actually get eczema in the ear, too, but it’s pretty easily treated,” says Dr. Tweel. This earwax consistency, possibly accompanied by soreness, could also be a sign of psoriasis, though this is less common. “Patients usually already know they have this because they’ll see rashes elsewhere, but it’s definitely worth bringing up,” he says.

Your earwax smells

Your earwax should never have an odor; if it does, that signals an infection. “In my experience, it’s the patient who notices a smell, but it’s very possible other people might bring it up as well,” says Dr. Tweel. “Regardless, it needs to be treated.”

Your earwax drips out

If your ear feels wetter after a workout, that’s probably just sweat, but if you wake up with earwax on your pillow or crusty bits on your earlobe, those are signs of an ear infection or chronic ear disease, says Dr. Tweel.

You can feel your earwax

“If you have a persistent feeling of earwax in your canal, that could mean it’s blocked and needs to be cleaned out by your doctor,” Dr. Tweel says. Contrary to popular belief, cotton swabs don’t actually clean your ears; instead, they push earwax further into the canal, which can lead to buildup, irritation, and even damage to hearing bones. Don’t use them to remove earwax!

Your earwax is itchy

We all get the urge to scratch every now and again, but if you’re constantly digging in your ears to relieve an itch, it might be a sign that something’s wrong. “Itching in or around the ear canal could suggest an infection,” says Dr. Tweel.

Your earwax is dry or dark

If you notice your earwax feels thicker, drier, or darker than normal, that could be a sign of general aging. “As people get older, their earwax gets drier and flakier,” Dr. Tweel says.

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Reddit
Delicious
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

READ NEXT

14 Healthy Ways to Lose Weight for Good

Swap your go-to order If you made a habit from eating out at restaurants, cut back this habit. Sure, you can eat out at restaurant but no more than once

6 Reasons Why You’re Over-Sweating After 40

As we already know, sweating happens after making physical efforts, being stressed or standing in the heat – but why does it happen after 40 years old? Well, menopause can

Essential Tips to Prevent Your Next Asthma Attack

“Asthma is the most treatable of all chronic diseases known to mankind,” says Richard F. Lockey, MD, director, Division of Allergy & Immunology at the University of South Florida College

Hernias: Everything You Need to Know

A hernia happens when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area

6 Healthy Ancient Grains You Should Be Eating

Ancient grains are a group of grains and pseudocereals (seeds that are consumed like grains) that have remained mostly unchanged for thousands of years. They’re dietary staples in many parts

6 Powerful Foods Every Woman Should Eat

Figuring out how to eat healthy for your body can be a daunting task. There’s a lot of complicated (and sometimes incorrect) information out there about food and health, and

How to Make Your Home COPD-Friendly

For people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), everyday life can be difficult. COPD is a group of progressive lung diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. About 30 million

50 Body Myths You Should STOP Believing (Part 4)

Stress causes hypertension. Stress may temporarily increase your blood pressure when your heart beats faster, but it doesn’t actually cause long-term high blood pressure. Other behaviors that stress your body

RELATED POSTS

Scroll to Top