Earwax

Earwax is a naturally produced secretion that protects the ear canal. It is a mixture of skin, sweat, hair, and debris (such as shampoo and dirt) held together with a fluid secreted by glands inside the ear canal (ceruminous glands).

The ear canals are self-cleaning. Earwax helps filter dust and keep the ears clean and is usually eliminated from the ear naturally. Normally, earwax is a self-draining liquid that does not cause problems.

Last Updated: February 12, 2010

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine

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