Read below about waxy ear discharge, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your waxy ear discharge from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Wax coming from the ear

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A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Waxy Ear Discharge

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced waxy ear discharge. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Earwax Blockage

    Ear wax production is a normal process, as the body makes wax to protect the ear from infection. Sometimes ear wax can build up and cover the eardrum, which is a thin layer of skin that stretches across the end of the ear canal and picks up sound from outside. Ear wax buildup has nothing to do with poor hygiene, and it is not possible to prevent a build-up by washing.

    Condition likely will go away on its own after 5 days without treatment. However, with pain, dizziness, or feelings of fullness, the earwax should be removed.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, dry cough, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears
    Symptoms that never occur with earwax blockage:
    swollen ear, fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)

    Swimmer's ear, also known as otitis externa, is inflammation, irritation, or infection of the outer ear and ear canal.

    7-10 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, ear canal pain, ear fullness/pressure, jaw pain, ear pain that gets worse when moving
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  3. 3.Cholesteatoma (a Non - Cancerous Growth in the Ear)

    Cholesteatoma is a type of skin cyst that is located in the middle ear and mastoid bone in the skull. It can be a birth defect though more commonly occurs as a complication of chronic ear infection.

    Chronic, but curable

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    ear fullness/pressure, ringing in the ears, pain in one ear canal, vertigo (extreme dizziness), hearing loss in one ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Chronic Earwax Blockage

    Earwax production is a normal process, as the body makes wax to protect the ear from infection. Sometimes ear wax can build up and cover the eardrum which is a thin layer of skin that stretches across the end of the ear canal and picks up sound from outside.

    With treatment, the condition will resolve.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, dry cough, ear canal pain, ringing in the ears, ear fullness/pressure
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic earwax blockage:
    ear canal pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic earwax blockage:
    swollen ear, fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  5. 5.Traumatic Brain Injury

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain.

    Varies depending on severity

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    new headache, irritability, clear runny nose, vision changes, general numbness
    Symptoms that always occur with traumatic brain injury:
    head injury
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Waxy Ear Discharge

  • Q.Have you been experiencing dizziness?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you hear a ringing or whistling sound no one else hears?
  • Q.Have you noticed a change in your hearing?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our waxy ear discharge symptom checker to find out more.

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Waxy Ear Discharge Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced waxy ear discharge have also experienced:

    • 13% Ear Canal Pain
    • 9% Pain in One Ear Canal
    • 6% Ear Discharge
  • People who have experienced waxy ear discharge had symptoms persist for:

    • 34% Less Than a Day
    • 29% Less Than a Week
    • 21% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced waxy ear discharge were most often matched with:

    • 44% Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa)
    • 33% Cholesteatoma (a Non - Cancerous Growth in the Ear)
    • 22% Earwax Blockage
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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