Stinky Ear And Smelly Ear Wax: What Are Its Causes & Remedies?

Human ear is nature’s skilful delicate creation without which it would be difficult to hear the sound. It also helps in maintaining the balance of your body. Similar to other organs of the body, ear too can be afflicted with several disorders, most of them are not life threatening. Stinky ears or foul odor emitting from ear is one such condition.

Bad odor from ears is mostly caused by ear infection, although there are many other causes. Foul smell from ears may not have serious consequence on your health, but it can cause social anxiety and discomfort for a person suffering from it.

In order to prevent stinky ears, you have to clean your ears regularly. Secondly, treat ear infection as soon as possible to prevent foul odor and more importantly hearing loss.

What Causes A Stinky Ear And Smelly Ear Wax?

Although one of the prominent reasons for foul and stinky odor from ear is bacterial infection, there are many other causes such as ear wax, unhygienic life style, cholesteatoma, and tumor which may produce foul smell from ears.

  • Infection in ear: It is the most common cause for stinky ears. Bacterial as well as fungal infection can produce foul smell in ears.
    Bacterial infection is accompanied with yellow discharge, pain and bad odor. Itching and watery discharge are more characteristic features of fungal infection in ear. Infection can occur in outer ear canal as well as middle ear. A person is vulnerable after acute attack of cold or due to perforation of ear drum.
  • Ear wax: Often bad odor from ear is caused due to stinky ear wax. Ear wax is a normal secretion in ear canal. It protects the ear drum from injuries. Microorganisms and dirt may get entangled in the sticky ear wax. It contains a chemical which releases peculiar smell which repels insects from entering into the ear canal. Too much of chemical in ear wax can be one factor for smelly ear wax. The other reason may be presence of dirt and dead skin cells in ear wax.
  • Cholesteatoma: It is an abnormal mass present in middle ear or in mastoid bone of the skull. The condition can be congenital or occur due to frequent infection of middle ear. If left untreated, this condition can cause hearing loss. Persistent foul yellow discharge from ear is characteristic of cholesteatoma.
  • Ear cancer: It is rare, but when present can cause stinky ear due to destruction of nearby tissues.
  • Poor hygiene: Bad smell from ear is frequently observed in people who do not clean their ears regularly. Improper cleaning will lead to accumulation of dirt, soap and shampoo inside the ear canal. Unclean ears can emit bad smell.

Treatment And Home Remedies For Stinky Ears

Treatment of stinky ears depends on the underlying cause. In most bacterial infection, the treatment of choice is antibiotic ear drops and oral antibiotic medicines. Anti fungal ear drops are effective in dealing with fungal infection in the ear canal. Besides medications, here are important home remedies that will complement in curing stinky smell emitting from ears.

  • Maintain good hygiene of ear canal. Clean your ears regularly to prevent accumulation of dirt and dead skin cells inside the ears. Gently clean the ear canal with cotton ear buds once a week. However, take care while cleaning to prevent damage to the ear drum.
  • Diluted vinegar solution with water is beneficial in keeping the ear clean and free from stinky smell. It also has mild anti septic properties.
  • Secretion of ear wax is a continuous process. Removal of ear wax is necessary as it may become hard after sometime and block the ear canal. Before removing the wax, you should make it soft so that it becomes easy to remove it. Put two to three drops of mineral oil in both the ears for few days to make the wax soft. Soft wax is easily removed with ear bud.

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