Earwax, or cerumen, is a normal natural substance that helps keep ears healthy.
Earwax prevents debris, dirt, and other objects from entering the ear canal and preventing infection. In fact, the ear cleans itself, and the old earwax, along with the dead skin cells, moves from the inside of the ear into the ear canal and falls out.
Earwax can be shades of yellow, white, brown, or even black. It can be soft, hard and rough. Depending on several variables, earwax can vary greatly.
Normally, when earwax accumulates, it is squeezed out of the ear. Sometimes our bodies overproduce earwax, especially when we’re stressed or scared. If there is too much production and it does not leave the ear, it causes blockage.
Common colors of earwax
Ear wax is common.
yellow-brown in color with a tendency to be wet
dry white gray
The color of earwax varies depending on a person’s ethnicity and health.
One study found that dry ears are more common among people of East Asian descent. Wet earwax is common among people of other ethnicities. This is due to a mutation in a gene that helps moisturize the earwax.
There are earwax and other types of earwax, so don’t panic if the color or texture changes over time.
How to remove ear wax at home
There is no reason to do anything to the ear to remove earwax. Earwax accumulates only in the outer third of the ear canal. Using a bobby pin or cotton swab to “clean” the earwax can push the earwax out and cause the earwax to absorb.
Ear candling is considered another way to remove earwax, but this method is not recommended because it is not a successful treatment and can cause serious burns and injuries.
How to clean ears at home
In most cases, there is no need to specifically clean the ears and remove the earwax.
To clean the ear, it is enough to wash the outside of the ear with a soft towel; nothing needs to be done internally.
How to remove large amounts of earwax
Home remedies are often effective if there is only a small amount of earwax. You can add a few drops of baby oil or ear drops to soften the wax.
The day after using the drops, pour warm water into the ear using a rubber syringe. Tilt your head and pull your outer ear up and back, says the Mayo Clinic. It straightens the ear canal and helps remove earwax.
When done, tilt your head again to let the water out. This may need to be repeated over several days depending on the level of accumulation. If your symptoms do not improve, see your doctor.