Why is my earwax black?

Earwax is a naturally produced substance inside your ear which is usually yellow in colour. Earwax helps keep a person’s ears clean, healthy and free of debris. Earwax also includes old skin cells which shed from the ear canal. Black earwax can sometimes occur, but it is rarely a cause for concern. Black earwax can usually appear as a result of an excessive build-up of earwax. In most cases, earwax is a sticky, yellow substance. However, it occasionally has a darker colour, such as black.

There are many things which you can do to prevent and treat black earwax. Earwax can darken the longer the wax remains the ear. The earwax usually becomes drier and does not clear from the ear canal quickly or as easily.

The ears are naturally self-cleaning and require no interference and mostly clear with jaw movement and showers. Sometimes it’s simple to just leave the ears alone as this may help prevent excess wax from building up.

People should avoid cleaning their ears with long objects and avoid the use of earbuds in the ear canal. You may be prescribed medication which can help prevent the accumulation of earwax that can lead to black earwax and other side effects. In most cases, black earwax is not a cause for concern or a health risk. However, if it becomes a problem, a person can usually treat it with home remedies or visit an ear specialist who will help clear the built-up wax. You may also wish to speak to a doctor if there are any additional symptoms.

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