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

7 of the Best Ways to Get Rid of Nausea

Sit up and avoid crunching the stomach If your mom ever told you not to lie down after eating, she was on to something. When you lie flat, gastric juices

6 Unexpected Conditions Linked to Fibromyalgia

About 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia, which is characterized by painful, tender joints along the body; fatigue; sleeplessness; and cognitive issues known as fibro fog. Unfortunately, people with fibromyalgia are

This Is What You Need to Know About Hepatitis C

This is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus and it’s transmitted when an infected person’s blood gets in a healthy person’s blood stream. This could happen

6 Delicious Foods That Help You Lose Weight

“Certain foods can help you shed body weight,” says Heather Mangieri, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “because they help you feel full longer and help

Here’s How Eating Sugar Affects Your Body

Sugar is probably the worst ingredient when it comes to our diets. It doesn’t give us the nutrients we need to end our tasks properly—instead, provides empty calories and eating

Alcoholism: Addiction Signs and Treatment

ALCOHOL can take a serious toll on your health and vary in severity from mild to life threatening. Not only the alcoholic individual is affected but also his family and

6 Things You Should Know About Thyroid

Your thyroid controls your heart rate, your respiration, major organs, and your metabolism. That’s why no one should take this little gland in your neck for granted. Here’s what thyroid

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