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Why Does My Ear Wax Smell Bad

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How To Properly Clean Your Inner Ears

Why Does My Ear Smell So Bad?

You dont actually need to clean your inner ears. Ears are self-cleaning and earwax should work its way out of your ear naturally in time where you can clean it with a damp cloth.

If you do get a build up of ear wax thats causing you problems, visit your GP to have it removed. You can also get drops to loosen ear wax at the pharmacy. Generally, youll apply these drops twice a week to loosen ear wax, before removing it from your outer ear with a cloth but follow the manufacturers instructions.

Why Does Ear Wax Smell Bad

Health related question in topics ConditionsIllness .We found some answers as below for this question Why does ear wax smell bad,you can compare them.

Why does ear wax smell bad

Why does ear wax smell so bad?
Once I went to a doctor to get the wax flushed out of my ear. Well he carried on about how disgusting it was and it made me think. I wonder what his reaction was when somebody had hemorrhoids? Hope i dont get this answer deleted. it see
Why does my ear wax smell like vinegar?
vinegar is acetic acid, it is a product of fermentation. You should clean your ears out more often if things are starting to ferment in there.
The peroxide is removing much more wax, but on occasion her ear j?
According to my ped, be careful when putting peroxide in the ear. . My DD had an ear infection last year her ears didnt even hurt -just had a very high temp. I took her to the dr an

It Matters Where Your Family Is From

Asian and non-Asian ears produce different types of earwax according to scientists at the Monell Institute in Philadelphia. Chromosome 16 is home to the “wet” or “dry” gene for earwax – with the wet variant dominating.

A small change in the gene ABCC11 is related to both the dry-type earwax and also for reduced underarm body odour found in Chinese, Japanese and Korean individuals.

The American study measured the concentration of 12 volatile organic compounds found in earwax – in groups of East Asian and white men.

In 11 out of the 12 compounds the Caucasian earwax had greater amounts of odorous compounds.

Kate Prigge from Monell says their analysis of the smell of ear wax is a first step towards finding out whether they might eventually use it to detect disease.

The institute studies a rare genetic disorder called maple syrup urine disease, which can be easily diagnosed through the scent of earwax compounds. Swabbing someone’s ears is a much simpler and cheaper process than doing a genetic test.

Dr Prigge does realise how odd her choice of career might sound. She says: “You tell someone that you work in human body odour you get a good laugh,” says Prigge. “But when you explain the importance behind it or how much information can be gained in these types of studies, people often understand why.”

Also Check: How To Make Candle Ear Wax

Ear Discharge Treatment Options

For milder ear problems doctors usually adopt a wait and see approach. Ear drops are prescribed to reduce swelling and inflammation brought by an ear infection or trauma. Most cases of abnormal fluid discharge can clear up without any form of treatment although conditions that are caused by trauma need to be attended by a doctor.

For excessive ear discharges caused by a perforation of the eardrum, the doctor may apply a paper patch to restore normal hearing and reduce the discharge. The patch keeps the eardrum closed as it heals. For severe cases, surgery may be done and a patch of skin may be surgically attached over the hole to cover it.

Swimmers ear and other ear infections will need a doctors attention. He may prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading and patients may be advised to stay out of the water while treatment is going on.

Foreign Object In Ear

Smelly Earwax: Causes, Treatments, and More

Its possible for both children and adults to get something stuck in their ear. Children sometimes put objects such as beads, small toys, and food in their ears out of curiosity. Children and adults may also get an insect stuck in their ear.

Along with smelly earwax, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • pain
  • infection

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How Do You Get Rid Of Smelly Ear Wax And What Are Its Causes

Human ear is indeed natures most beautiful work of craftsmanship which no mortal creature is able to build. It is intricately crafted to serve many purposes at the same time. Hearing is the main function besides maintaining equilibrium of body.

The ear that you see from outside is not the only structure. On the inner side there is a long canal shaped tube which is attached to the middle and inner ear. The lining of ear canal secretes a sticky substance called ear wax or cerumen. It helps to protect the ear from invading germs and wastes that may go into the ear.

This waxy substance normally has typical mild odor. However, when the odor from the ear wax is extremely smelly and foul, it may be an indication of potential ear problem. Let us know the causes of smelly earwax and the ways to get rid of it.

Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations

If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

  • Cloudy fluid or pus draining from the ear canal usually means there’s an ear infection.
  • The pus drains because there’s a small tear in the eardrum.
  • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product . Another choice is an ibuprofen product . Use as needed.
  • See Earache care guide for more advice.
  • Your child becomes worse.
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    Secretion Secrets: Things You Didnt Know About Ear Wax

    Earwax is one of those bodily substances which few of us like to discuss in polite company.

    Like other secretions, it is something that most of us deal with in private. Yet it also holds a fascination for many.

    In the past, it has been used as a lip balm and salve for puncture wounds.

    But it can do a little more than that. Recent research suggests it can indicate a build up of pollutants in the body – and it could even be used to diagnose certain conditions.

    Here are five things you – probably – didn’t know about ear wax.

    What Are Foul Smelling Ears

    The Breakdown – Why do my ears stink?

    Is that foul smell really coming from Fido or Fifi? ;The short and simple answer is yes and it could be coming from various locations on your canine family member: ears, mouth or anal area. ;

    There are a number of things which can cause foul smells in those areas but in particular, a strong odor coming from the ears of your canine can mean illnesses ranging from mites to ear infection. A condition concerning the ears must be evalauated in order to avoid pain,; loss of hearing or balance.

    Foul smelling ears in dogs can be the result of a number of issues with your canine family member and some of those issues can be serious.

    Vet bills can sneak up on you.

    Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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    Your Earwaxs Odor Is Unique

    Have you ever smelled your own earwax? How about your friend’s earwax? Here’s a fun game: go over to your coworker, your family member, the person at the coffee shop next to you, and ask them if you can smell their earwax. Tell them it’s for science. We’ll wait.

    Back? Good. The science we’re interested here isn’t about personal space, or a measure of how awkward a request needs to be before you get bopped on the nose. It’s actually about earwax, and the smell of said earwax. Because, apparently, people’s earwax smells differently, and the variations depend on your race. Racial differences are based on the genes you bear, and according to a new study,;earwax odor is just one of the many variables these genes determine.

    First, picture;scientists in white lab coats hunched over,;smelling people’s earwax. Ok, fine, the research was more scientific than that. ;In the study,;led by Katharine Prokop-Prigge, the researchers measured the types and quantities of volatile organic compounds coming off of;earwax samples. Regardless of race, we all produce the same odors just in different amounts,says Kat Chow for NPR, summarizing the results.;For instance: White men have more volatile organic compounds in their earwax than Asian men.

    And,;as Prokop-Prigge explains;in this;video for the Monell Center, a person’s earwax odor is so unique that you can identify people by its smell.

    Its Normal Skin Bacteria

    Along with excess oil, bacteria on your skin factor into the funky smell. Hair products and pollution can also collect there and contribute to the odor, Dr. Hollmig says.

    The fix: OK, it’s showering . But even if you’re not washing your hair daily, make sure you get your ears.

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    The Scent Of Your Earwax May Yield Valuable Information

    Warning: It doesnt get any less gross from here.

    ByFrancie Diep | Published Feb 13, 2014 11:30 PM

    As an Asian lady, I cant get over that people of African and European descent have moist earwax. I learned this years ago. I still cant get over it! I assumed everyone had earwax like me, so it was just too weird to learn otherwise.

    Dont know what Im talking about? In 2006, scientists discovered there is a geneindeed, a single letter in all of human DNAthat determines whether people have wet or dry earwax. People of African and European ethnicity usually have the wet type. Nearly all people of Native American and East Asian ethnicity have the dry type.

    Now, scientists have made a second important discovery about my favorite gene. It also leads to earwax that smells different. Ugh, I know, right? But yes, a team of researchers from Pennsylvania gathered samples of earwax, baked them to get them to release their volatile compounds, then analyzed those compounds with gas chromatrography and mass spectrometry. The earwax came from eight men of Asian descent with dry wax, and eight men of European descent with wet wax.

    Causes Of Foul Smelling Ears In Dogs

    Why Does My Dog Smell My Ears  Pet Zesty

    Ear infections are the most common cause of foul smelling ears in canines. ;These infections can come from:

    • Various bacterial organisms which are common to the skin and ear canal of the canine can take advantage of opportunities created by abrasions, cuts and other wounds allow the bacteria to cause an infection
    • Fungal organisms – There are a variety of fungal organisms which are known to cause stinky ears in your canine family member, one of which ;is yeast

    • Ear mites and other parasites can cause parasitic infections which will produce a foul smell
    • Earwax buildup – Periodic cleaning of your pets ears may keep this cause under control

    • Allergies – This can include food allergies as well as inhaled irritating allergens
    • Trauma to the ear
    • Hormonal abnormalities – This might include hypothyroidism

    • Ear environment – This includes moisture which is retained or other ear environment which prevents the normal natural cleaning process that is built into the canine ear
    • Hereditary conditions, immune issues and tumors

    Also Check: How To Clear Fluid From Middle Ear

    Cause Of A Cholesteatoma

    A;cholesteatoma can develop if part of the eardrum collapses.

    Dead skin cells are;normally passed out of the ear, but;if the eardrum collapses, it;may create a pocket where;the dead skin cells can collect.

    You can get a cholesteatoma if the eardrum is damaged through an injury or;infection, or after any kind of ear surgery.

    You can also be born with a cholesteatoma, but this is rare.

    Page last reviewed: 11 December 2020 Next review due: 11 December 2023

    How To Safely Clean Your Ears

    Even though earwax has its benefits, blockages can;cause a conductive;hearing loss. If you develop a sensation of stuffiness in your ears and suspect earwax is the culprit:

    • Do not clean ears with a cotton swab, hairpin or any sharp instrument in an attempt to remove wax yourself. This can push the wax deeper into the ear canal where it is unable to be sloughed off naturally,;or you could even puncture your;eardrum.
    • Do not try ear candling. Besides having no proven benefits, ear candling can cause burns, wax blockage, punctured eardrums and serious injury.

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    Smelly Ears Causes Treatments And With Discharge

    Even though the ears are so close to the nose, the smell of your ears no matter how bad will be lost on you. If you have good friends, however, they will have told you once or twice that they are smelly? If not, then they cringe their nose every time they lean in for a hug. You may not know why they have a reaction like that, but chances are that youve guessed that there must be a bad smell coming from the ears. Smelly ears are embarrassing. Any part of the body that stinks when its not supposed to, makes life unbearable. So, what causes the bad smell in your eyes?

    When It Feels Like Your Ear Is Wet All The Time

    A Schnauzer smells bad and keeps shaking his head – ear surgery

    To be honest, this isnt really earwax, but it is understandable that you might think it is cerumen. Wet ears typically mean disease, most likely infection. Ear infections create pus, so that might be why your ear feels wet. That is not the only possible cause, though.

    It is also possible that you have a type of skin growth inside your ear canal called a cholesteatoma. A cholesteatoma is a lot like a cyst, but one that appears inside the ear blocking the canal. When that happens, stuff like earwax and dirt build up. This blockage can cause debris to overflow and come out the ear. Any drainage from your ear means you need to see a doctor and find out why that is happening.

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    Stay Away From Ear Candles

    Ear candles are marketed as a solution to removing wax from ear canals, but they often do more harm than good. Unsurprisingly, for something that involves lighting a flame near your head, theyve been known to cause burns to the face, outer ear, eardrum and inner ear. . They can also make build-ups of ear wax worse and are not recommended.

    Your Earwax Says A Lot About You

    Although most everyones ears produce earwax, thats where the similarity ends. Its composition varies from person to person, depending on their ethnicity, environment, age and diet.

    There are two primary types of earwaxwet and dry:

    • Wet cerumen is more common in Caucasians and Africans
    • Dry cerumen is more common among Native Americans, Pacific Islanders;and Asians

    Even the color of your cerumen can say a lot about you.

    • Dark brown or black colored earwax is typically older, so its color comes from the dirt and bacteria it has trapped. Adults tend to have darker, harder earwax.
    • Dark brown earwax that is;tinged with red may signal a bleeding injury.
    • Light brown, orange or yellow earwax is healthy and normal. Children tend to have softer, lighter-colored earwax.
    • White, flaky earwax indicates you lack a body-odor producing chemical. Dark-colored, sticky earwax indicates you should probably use deodorant.

    Recommended Reading: What Does Ringing In Your Ears Mean

    It Can Be A Pollution Monitor

    Earwax, like many other bodily secretions, can show traces of certain toxins in the body such as heavy metals. But it’s an odd place to look and no more reliable than a simple blood test.

    There are also some rare metabolic disorders that affect earwax. The most notable earwax scientific discovery of recent times is that of a 24cm wax earplug from a blue whale.

    Unlike humans which shed their earwax and dead skin cells, filter-feeding whales retain their earwax, recording life events similar to the way tree rings reveal arid and wet seasons during its lifetime.

    The earwax was analysed by Sascha Usenko, a environmental scientist at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He and his team found that during the 12-year-old male whale’s life it came into contact with 16 different pollutants such as pesticides.

    There was a peak of exposure during the first year of life – suggesting that these were transferred from its mother either in the womb or through her milk.

    High levels of the stress hormone cortisol appeared in the waxy plug as the animal reaches sexual maturity – when competing for a mate would have been a priority.

    What Do You Think Your Earwax May Be Telling You About Your Health

    Why does my dog

    by Hearing and Balance Center | Apr 10, 2018 | Hearing Loss Articles

    Is your earwax trying to tell you something about your health? Earwax is more than just the icky stuff that comes out of your ears. Cerumen, the medical name for it, has a purpose in your body. It protects the skin inside the ear canal from damage that can lead to infection. It is also a source of lubrication and helps waterproof the inside of your ear.

    Thats all good stuff, but earwax also provides information about you. How it looks, the texture and smell all supply key details about what is going on inside your body. What is your earwax saying to you?

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    Diagnosis Of Foul Smelling Ears In Dogs

    Any ear infection has the potential to not only affect the outer ear, but to also go deeper into the middle and inner ear. ;It is for this reason that, if any of the above symptoms are noted, it is vitally important to get veterinary medical advice and treatment. ;

    It is important for you to be prepared to give your veterinary professional detailed information about the symptoms youve noticed, the severity and the duration. ;Noting if the symptoms came on suddenly or more gradually will be helpful for your vet, too. ;He might also need to know about the dietary regimen youre feeding your canine family member, as well as exercise routines, bedding materials and any hereditary issues if known. ;Providing as complete a health and vaccination history as possible will be very helpful as well unless the attending veterinarian has access to that information.

    Your veterinarian will do a physical examination and may order blood testing to rule out some of the systemic issues and determine if the infection is bacterial, fungal or parasitic. ;Once he has all of the results of his preferred testing, he will develop and initiate a treatment plan.

    S For Cleaning Your Dogs Ears

    If you need to clean your dogs ears, here are the steps:

  • Hold the bottle of vet-approved ear cleaner above your dogs ear and gently squeeze the solution into the ear. Fill the ear so that it is almost full of solution.

  • Gently massage the base of the ear to distribute the cleaning solution and loosen any debris.

  • Allow your dog to shake their head. This will help bring the debris toward the outside so that it is easier to clean away.

  • Use a cotton ball to gently wipe away any wax and debris.

  • Cotton-tipped swabs should not be used to clean your dogs ears. They might have the unintended effect of pushing debris further into the ear canal.

    To keep your dogs ears healthy, you should check them at least once weekly. This allows you to find any problems early and act before they develop into a serious issue.

    Some signs to look for include:

    • Odor

    • Blood

    • Swelling

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    Treatment Of Foul Smelling Ears In Dogs

    Treatment for foul smelling ears in dogs will be dependent upon the cause which has been determined by your veterinary professional. ;Here are some components of the treatment plan you might see:

    • If the cause is simply dirty ears, your veterinarian will likely clean your pets ears and give you a cleaning regimen to follow along with a cleaning schedule with which to use it
    • If the cause has been determined to be a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will administer antibiotics topically, and there may be some administration of oral antibiotics which you will need to do at home for a specific period of time
    • If the cause is found to be fungal in nature, fungicides will be administered by your vet and perhaps by you at home
    • If a foreign body is determined to be the cause, removal of the foreign body will ensue and may be followed by a course of antibiotics if a bacterial infection is anticipated
    • If parasites are at the root of the foul smell coming from the ears of your pet, appropriate treatment will be provided for them
    • If hormonal imbalances, hereditary issues or tumors are found to be at fault for those smelly ears, appropriate medications and procedures will be recommended

    Earwax That Smells Bad

    Dog Health : How to Stop a Dog’s Ear Odor

    When your earwax smells terrible, pay attention because it most likely indicates a severe infection. Anaerobic bacteria, that means the organism doesnt require oxygen to thrive, tend to emit a foul odor that can make earwax smell bad.

    A bad smell can also mean an infection is causing middle ear damage. You might notice your balance is off and there is ringing or other phantom noises in the affected ear. Time to see the doctor.

    In 2009, a group of Japanese scientists also linked smelly earwax to a gene associated with breast cancer. Although more studies are needed to prove this connection, its something you should talk to your doctor about especially if breast cancer runs in the family.

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    Symptoms Of Foul Smelling Ears In Dogs

    There are a number of things which can cause the canine ear to become stinky. ;Here are some of the symptoms you may notice:

    • Persistent scratching sometimes to the point of being obsessive
    • Red and irritated areas from constant scratching
    • Open scratch wounds or sores;
    • Pain or tenderness when the ears are touched or rubbed
    • Sour smell similar to the smell of sourdough starter
    • Vigorous head shaking or rubbing ears on the carpet
    • Dark discharge or darkened and excessive amounts of earwax


    There are several types of conditions which can result in foul smelling ears in dogs:

    • Ear infections – This can be bacterial or fungal in nature; yeast infections are among the fungal organisms which are known to afflict canines

    • Parasitic infestations – This can include fleas, ticks, mites and a variety of other parasites
    • Cuts, abrasions and other wounds in the ear canal – These can result from nail injuries from the persistent scratching that accompanies ear infections;

    • Cancer

    Your Earwax Is Really Flaky

    No worries, flaky earwax isnt a sign of trouble. It is, however, a side effect of natural aging. As people get older, their bodys get a little dryer that includes the glands that produce earwax. As a result, your ears might feel itchy. A few drops of mineral oil can ease that discomfort and soften the earwax at the same time.

    What if your ears have no earwax at all? Its rare, but it does happen. It is a condition called keratosis obturans, and it means there is a hard plug where the earwax comes out. Its unclear why this happens, but researchers do know that the plug is made of keratin, a protein that exists in skin cells. You might feel pain in that ear and have trouble hearing. The treatment is simple, let a doctor pull the plug out. In some, the condition is chronic, and the patient requires regular medical care.

    Earwax, who knew it was so complex. Take a look at yours and see if you learn anything.

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