Earwax consistency: what’s normal?
Ever wondered why earwax can vary in consistency? This consistency can vary person to person and can be influenced by factors like genetics and the environment. Some may have wetter earwax, whilst others might experience drier or flakier earwax.
Understanding your earwax can provide insights into your ear health and guide appropriate care and cleaning practices.
Watery earwax differs from the kind you get after swimming; it might signal otitis externa, commonly known as swimmer's ear. This watery discharge can also occur from a middle ear infection, which isn't exactly earwax but pus from the infection. If you suspect an infection, antibiotics can help. Seek your GP's advice for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Another possible cause is a cholesteatoma, a skin growth in the ear canal; consult your doctor for guidance if you suspect this condition.
Flaky earwax is often seen in people of Asian descent or as an effect of ageing, where it tends to become drier and flakier. It might also point to underlying issues like eczema or an ear infection if accompanied by itching or inflammation.
If you experience itching or inflammation along with flaky earwax, consult your GP for an assessment and potential treatment.
You can learn more about the colour, consistency and smell of earwax with our guide.