Earwax (also known as cerumen) is produced in the outer part of the ear canal and is designed to protect the skin of the ear canal, assist in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection from dirt, bacteria, fungi, insects and water, keeping them from reaching the eardrum. Usually ear wax accumulates, dries, and then falls out of the ear or is wiped away.

One of the most common causes of hearing loss is accumulated ear wax and this can be treated very easily. Using cotton swabs or other small objects to remove earwax is not recommended as it tends to push earwax further into the ear, increasing buildup and affecting hearing. Excessive/impacted earwax can become quite serious and is best treated by your GP.