Specialists in Earwax Removal

What does the colour of your ear wax mean?

What does the colour of your ear wax mean?

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When it comes to our health, we often pay attention to the slightest change in the colour of our skin, eyes, or even urine, and for good reason too! But have you ever considered the significance of the colour of your earwax? Surprisingly, the shade of your earwax can provide valuable insights about your ear health. Have you ever wondered what does the colour of your ear wax mean? Join us as we dive into the colourful world of earwax to find out.

 
Why Earwax Comes in Different Colours:

Earwax is produced by glands in the ear canal mixed with dead skin from your ear drum. Its primary function is to protect the ear canal and drum from dust, dirt, and foreign particles, while also helping prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

Not enough of it and you can be prone to sore, itchy ears and infections. Too much of it and you can experience hearing loss, congestion and aching.

However, the colour of earwax can vary from person to person and even change over time.

 
Here’s what the different colours may indicate:
  1. Light Yellow or Orange: The most common colour of earwax is a light yellow or orange hue. This shade usually signifies healthy earwax production and normal ear health. If your earwax falls within this colour range, it indicates that your body is efficiently cleaning your ear canal and keeping it lubricated.

  2. Dark Brown or Black: Dark brown or black earwax may seem alarming, but it’s often just a result of the earwax’s natural ageing process. The colour darkens as it collects debris and dead skin cells over time. However, if you experience other symptoms such as itching, pain, or a foul odour, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance to rule out any underlying issues.

  3. Grey or Light Brown: Earwax that appears grey or light brown might indicate an excessive buildup of earwax. This could be a sign that your body is producing more wax than necessary, potentially leading to blockage. If you notice a decrease in your hearing ability or feel discomfort, it’s advisable to consult an audiologist or healthcare professional for proper removal.

  4. Yellow-Green or Dark Green: When earwax takes on a yellow-green or dark green colour, it may indicate an infection. This coloration is often accompanied by symptoms like pain, itching, and a discharge that may have an unpleasant odour. Seeking medical attention is crucial in such cases, as the infection needs to be treated promptly to avoid complications.

  5. Red or Bloody: Although rare, the presence of red or bloody earwax should never be ignored. It can be a sign of a perforated eardrum, injury, or infection. If you experience sudden bleeding from the ear or persistent pain, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional immediately.

  6. White: In some cases, earwax may appear white, which can indicate different scenarios. Firstly, it could be a sign of an infection, especially if accompanied by symptoms like pain, itching, or discharge. See your GP if this is the case. Alternatively, white earwax can also occur if you have used certain ear drops or solutions, such as Otex Express, which contain agents that bleach the wax.  If you have recently used such ear drops and notice white earwax, it is likely a result of the bleaching effect and should not be a cause for concern.

 
What does the colour of your ear wax mean?

While the colour of earwax can provide valuable clues about your ear health, it’s important to remember that it is only one aspect to consider. Factors such as age, hygiene, and the environment around you can all influence the colour and consistency of earwax.

If you have concerns about your ears or notice any significant changes in the colour or texture of your earwax, get in touch.

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Concerned about your hearing?

If you’d like more info before booking an appointment you can read about ear wax here on the NHS website.

Alternatively, call us for a quick chat on 01429 233 091.