Some earwax is good and healthy. It’s a natural substance in our ears that protects the ear canal and eardrum. It prevents foreign bodies and other particles from getting too deep into the ear, and it protects against germs that can cause ear infections. Earwax should move in and out of the ear naturally, but you may sometimes experience too much earwax or another issue you will want to see an ear specialist for. Below are the colors of earwax and what they indicate.
Off-white to yellow
Ear wax that’s colored off-white to yellow indicates fresh earwax. Most earwax is this shade.
Yellow to green
Yellow to green earwax means there’s pus drainage from an ear infection. You will want to visit a doctor to treat ear infections.
Green earwax goes to show there’s a significant ear infection. It is often associated with a foul smell. Head to your local doctor or ENT to access the infection and get it treated.
Yellow to orange
Yellow to orange also symbolizes fresh earwax. This is the shade of most earwax.
A pale orange color is old earwax. It will often be dry in texture.
Orange to brown
An orange to brown color is very old earwax. It’s going to be thick and sticky, as well.
Darker orange earwax is older earwax that has picked up debris. It’s going to be flaky and sticky, too.
Black earwax means that there’s a wax buildup, or that there’s impacted wax. A hearing specialist can assess the degree of buildup and get it out of your ear safely.
Gray earwax will tell you there’s a buildup of dust or other particles in the ear. You may want to get your ears cleaned by a professional to prevent any debris from turning into an ear infection.
Wax with streaks of blood
Yellowish earwax with streaks of blood will notify you of a potential injury or scratch in your ear. It could also be from a bug bite in your ear. If it’s this color and is also a wet and runny texture, you more than likely have a ruptured eardrum and will need to see an ear specialist for proper treatment.
Visit an ear specialist when in doubt
When in doubt, it is always best to see your local audiologist so they can clean your ears or notify you of a possible problem. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Muffled hearing can be a sign of too much earwax in your ear, and a professional can clean it out for you in a safe and effective way. Never use a cotton swab to clean your ear, as there are better, safer ways to complete this task. Contact us today with any questions or concerns, or to set up an appointment.