Medical Definition of Wax, ear

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Wax, ear: A natural wax-like substance secreted by glands in the skin on the outer part of the ear canal. Earwax repels water and traps dust and sand particles. Usually small amounts of wax accumulate and then dry up and fall out of the ear canal, carrying unwanted particles. Earwax is helpful in normal amounts. The absence of earwax may result in dry, itchy ears, and in infection. There are two types of earwax: wet and dry. Most whites and blacks have the wet type, and most Asians and Native Americans have the dry type.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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