As one of the body's many naturally-occurring protective substances, earwax is incredibly useful to our health and wellbeing. But what exactly is it? Earwax is an oily material that is produced by glands within the ear canal, designed to trap dust, to protect the ear canal skin lining and to reduce the likelihood of bacterial infection.
Unfortunately, some people are predisposed to producing too much ear wax. To reduce your chances of developing problems relating to earwax, we highly recommend that you avoid putting objects directly into your ears, such as cotton buds. Even if you are using these to remove excess wax, you can easily damage your ear canal or eardrum, lodging wax further inside your ear. Instead, you can use eardrops or spray as recommended by our expert Audiologists. This will liquify and loosen stubborn wax, allowing it to work its way out naturally.
Maintaining a healthy level of earwax is key - too little and you might succumb to bacterial infections, too much and it can compact, causing temporary hearing loss.
Ear wax colours and types
Not every Bloody ear wax may be an emergency as there are lots of blood vessels in the ear canal. This may just be due to a minor scratch.
However it could also be bad news for people with a hole in the eardrum who have developed an infection. It may be a sign of blood passing through from behind the ear drum.
Bloody ear wax could have also been caused by trauma to the ear. If the problem persists or there is excessive blood, one must seek immediate medical help.
Watery ear wax and/or discharge, might be a “swimmer’s ear” infection. Swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa, is an infection in the outer ear canal. Its name refers to the fact that it is commonly caused by water remaining in the ear after swimming. There cab be other risk factors including; skin allergies; over cleaning of the ear canal with cotton buds; and excessive use of earphones.
In this case, the warm, moist environment causes bacteria to grow inside the ear. Early symptoms may include itching in the ear canal, a slight redness in the ear and mild pain – which increases when the outer ear (called the pinna) or the tragus (the bump in front of your ear) is pushed or pulled. As the infection worsens, these symptoms will only get worse. This can then result in severe pain beyond the ear to your face and neck, progressing to swelling around your neck.
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