What is cerumen and what is its function?

Cerumen, also known as “ear wax”, is a secretion that occurs in glands located in the ear canal, which protects the ears against harmful substances, and exerts a lubricating and natural cleaning action.

Its main functions are:

1. Prevent and keep the ear free from infection and prevent impurities from entering the inside of the ear.

2. Act as a lubricant to prevent the skin from drying out and cracking.

3. Clean the ear canal by dragging dirt to the outside.

The production of earwax varies from person to person and depends on genetic and environmental factors, but also the frequent use of devices such as hearing aids or headphones, excessive cleaning, and the aging process itself, may increase the secretion of wax in the ears.

Earwax only causes problems in the ear canal when it accumulates in excess, either because a person produces more wax than he or she is able to remove, or because the earwax has hardened in the ear canal and a plug has formed, forming then infection, inflammation and even deafness.