Many people have no idea that earwax is not just a type of dirt accumulation in our ears. Actually, our bodies produce it not to let bacteria and dirt in the ear canal. In other words, this sticky substance really keeps our ears clean, healthy, and functional.
However, no matter how important this substance is, no one wants to see it drip out of someone's ears. So when you realize that there is too much of it in your ear, do not hesitate to remove it. Also, excess production of earwax can block the ear canals, impairing your hearing and negatively influencing the quality of life.
If you decide to use a cotton swab, make sure not to stick it into the ear canal. It can only aggravate the situation by pushing the wax deeper into the ear canal and pressing it together. There are some common substances that will help you remove undesired wax without the risk of blocking the ear canals or perforating the eardrum. These include glycerin, saltwater, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar. And, of course, the safest way is to go to an otolaryngologist who will remove earwax buildup professionally.
Here are some examples of different wax colors and what they mean for your health:
1. Yellow, wet and sticky
This is the most common description of ear wax in adults, as you probably would have guessed. The thick, wet and sticky texture prevents the ear canal from drying out and hurting.
However unusual it may seem, there is no need to be alarmed. This color also results from natural cleaning processes in the ear. But dry and crumbly wax accompanied by itch could indicate eczema. It is best to have a doctor examine you in this case.
3. Faint yellow
This color is the most common in children. Children’s earwax production excels that of adults, but gradually decreases as they grow. It is also usually softer and lighter than that of adults.
4. Dark and thick
Darker than normal color of earwax indicates increased body perspiration. The darker the wax color is, the more likely it is for extra sweat to cause body odor. However, it is still completely healthy.
5. White and flaky
This is a perfectly normal and healthy type of cerumen. People who produce this type of wax usually have less body odor than the ones producing dark wax. It is believed that this type is more common for people of oriental origin.
6. Wet and liquid
It is normal for wax to come out of our ears occasionally, as it is merely a part of the natural cleansing process. But when the wax spills from your ears in large quantities and contains pus or blood, it is a sure sign of a perforated eardrum. In this case, seek medical attention immediately. It can also be cerebrospinal fluid.
7. Wax with blood
If you notice that your earwax resembles dried blood, seek medical attention, as it could be indicative of a perforated eardrum.
Now you know that earwax comes in many different colors. And in most cases, you don’t have to be alarmed, even if it seems that you do. The ear canals are self-cleaning. So there is no need to insert cotton deep inside.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.