Why is My Ears Wet When I Wake Up? 6 Reasons

Why is My Ears Wet When I Wake Up? 6 Reasons

Our ears have a complex structure having inner, middle, and outer ears in addition to the glands that produce wax to protect the inside of the whole ear canal. This wax often gives no sensation as it is a normal part of the ear anatomy.

However, it becomes dry and makes the ear feel itchy at times. Similarly, it might block the ear due to overproduction and impaction. In a few cases, the wax has a flowy consistency and makes the ear feel wet.

Additionally, fluid accumulates in the ears and makes them damp. So, are you wondering what might be the cause behind your ears becoming wet specifically in the morning? 

If yes, let us talk about the 6 reasons “Why are my ears wet when I wake up?”

Part 1: Why Do My Ears Feel Wet Inside Upon Waking Up?

Let us discuss the 6 most common causes of feeling wet ears in the morning in detail. 

1. Earwax Buildup and Drainage During Sleep

Ear wax is a natural pale to brownish substance produced by the ear to lubricate the ear canal, trap dust, and prevent the entry of microbes into the ear. This substance is removed naturally from the ear through movement of our jaw as well.

However, this wax can build up in the ear because of,

  • Excessive production of ear wax
  • Defective self-cleaning mechanism of the ear

While this wax stays inside the ear throughout the day and feels unnoticeable, it can drain during sleep because your ear is in a downward position throughout the night. Consequently, the ear becomes wet in the morning. 

While fresh wax can drain out of the ear, old wax is most likely to become impacted as it is dry. So, if you have ear wax, use home remedies cautiously to remove it instead of inserting random objects like a Q-tip into your ear.

2. Excessive Sweating or Increased Humidity During the Night

Increased sweating throughout the day or even at night makes the sweat gain entry into the ear. Also, the outer ear is lined by skin with sweat glands that produce sweat. Excessive sweating makes the sweat accumulate in the ear and the ear wax turns into a liquid form.

This wax drains out of the ear in the morning. People who stay in water for a prolonged time experience wet ears as well. This mostly happens in swimmers and this condition is called “swimmer’s ears”. 

Furthermore, an increase in the humidity of your surroundings can also make you experience wet ears in the morning. However, it is nothing to worry about as it is a clear fluid that does not harm. 

All you need to do is try keeping your ears dry as fluid accumulation in the ear can make you prone to fungal infection.

3. Fluid Accumulation Due to Allergies or Sinus Issues

Improper drainage of the sinuses or sinus infections is one of the concerning issues that is associated with wet ears in the morning. Just like allergies give you flu and a clear nasal discharge, similar effects can occur in the ear.

Both allergies and sinus congestion cause increased fluid production and drainage into the ear. This fluid accumulates and makes the ear canal feel wet. Also, the fluid in this case is sterile. 

4. Presence of an Ear Infection or Ear Canal Inflammation

Here are some conditions in which ear discharge occurs and needs proper treatment, 

  • Infections of the inner or middle ear
  • Trauma or rupture of the tympanic membrane 
  • Irritation or inflammation of the ear canal 

The fluid you see in these cases looks like pus or pus mixed in blood. Additionally, these conditions are associated with other features including, 

  • Fever
  • Earache
  • Tinnitus. 

5. Potential Role of Sleeping Position or Pillow Material

Sleeping position has a subtle role in causing wet years. Consider it in a way that if you sleep on the ear, one of your ears will be facing downwards allowing the contents of the ear canal to drain, right?

Therefore, sleeping with your head turned to one side can give you unilateral fluid drainage from the ear. This fluid includes,

  • Sweat
  • Excessive wax
  • Water or sweat  from your nighttime shower drain into the outer ear

Furthermore, if you are using a pillow material you are allergic to, you might experience inflammation of the ear canal and drainage of clear fluid. 

6. Wearing Earphones While Sleeping 

Earphones or hands-free are made of plastic or have a silicone covering. The skin of some people is sensitive to such materials and thus wearing earphones overnight can trigger allergies. 

In addition, the sound from the earphones in the quiet environment of the night exposes the ear canal to the risk of irritation and inflammation. These factors increase the formation and release of wax from the ears.

This buildup of ear wax makes ears damp when you wake up. So, simply removing earphones or using over-ear headphones when you sleep can resolve this issue.

Part 2: When to Seek Medical Attention if You Have Wet Ears When You Wake Up?

In case of have wet ears in the morning, you might or might not need any medical attention. So, it is important to identify when you should visit a doctor. Let us help you with some tips here.

Normal Vs. Abnormal Ear Moisture Upon Waking Up

First of all, you need to differentiate between normal and abnormal moisture in the ear. Here are some factors that characterize normal discharge,

  • A pale, white, or brown sticky material which is most likely ear wax
  • A clear water-like fluid, especially if you are a swimmer, take a bath before sleeping, or sweat a lot

On the other hand, here are the features of abnormal ear wax, 

  • A discharge having pus or blood
  • Bad-smelling fluid coming out of the ear
  • Symptoms other than mere wet ears 

Red Flags That Require Medical Attention 

Once you differentiate normal vs. abnormal discharge from the ears, you need to determine if the discharge can be treated at home or if you need to see a specialist. Examples of conditions treatable at home include,

  • Allergies
  • Swimmer’s ear
  • Impacted ear wax 

On the other hand, visit a doctor if you notice the following head flags,

  • Discharge of pus or blood: These features show damage to the inner ear or a severe infection 
  • Fever: It is associated with otitis media in most cases. 
  • Headache or earache: Trauma to the ear canal can give you pain in the neighboring regions 
  • Drainage of Fluid from Eyes and Nose: These symptoms represent sinusitis, recurrent allergies, or inflammation of the ear canal
  • Dizziness, Itching, or a Ringing Sound in the Ears: These features are often associated with conditions of the ear requiring proper treatment


Discharge from the ear can make your ears feel wet in the morning. Although uncomfortable, it is not always a matter of concern. Its causes can be some normal lifestyle factors like staying in water for a long time or a few diseases like ear infections. 

Some of these conditions are normal and you do not need to worry about them. In other cases, it is better to consult an ENT specialist. We have discussed all probable causes of wet ears in detail earlier. 

Therefore, we suggest you look into your ear often with the help of Bebird Note5 Pro Ear Wax Removal Tool Camera. It can help you diagnose the features of your ear discharge, check the condition of your ear, and treat ear wax at home

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.