Earwax is a natural substance that is produced by the ears to help protect the eardrum and the ear canal, playing an essential role in the health of your ears. Without earwax, germs, bacteria, particles, and debris would be able to penetrate deep into your ear, causing a host of health issues. While some people may experience an overproduction of earwax, old earwax will eventually move out of the ear canal and fall out naturally on its own. This is because your ears are relatively self-regulating, as earwax moves out of the ear courtesy of talking and eating, taking dead skin cells and any debris along with it. Even though your ears are self-cleaning, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn more about the colors of earwax, and what the different colors and textures indicate.
Earwax can come in a variety of colors, such as brown, yellow, bright orange, and dark orange. However, knowing more about the colors of earwax can help you determine if your earwax is normal, or if it’s showing signs of a problem. To help you stay on top of your health, learn more about the colors of earwax and what it indicates.
The Colors of Earwax and Its Indicators
Normal Earwax Colors
Off white to yellow: Fresh earwax
Yellow to orange: Fresh earwax
Darker orange: Earwax is sticky, flaky, or older earwax that has picked up debris
Orange to brown: Sticky, thick, or very old earwax
Pale orange: Old, dry earwax
Abnormal Earwax Colors: Signs of a Problem
Yellow to green: Runny, pus discharge due to an ear infection
Green: Significant ear infection, might notice a foul smell from the ear
Gray: Indicator of dust or particle buildup in the ear.
Black: Buildup of earwax that has become impacted.
Streaks of blood in wax: If wet and runny, it is an indicator of a ruptured eardrum. It could also be from an injury in the ear canal.