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What Causes Chunks of Ear Wax to Come Out of Ears?

By April Sanders ; Updated July 27, 2017

Migrating Wax

Earwax is produced in the outer canal of the ear. This area of the ear is lined with glands that make cerumen, or ear wax. The outer canal is located between the outside entrance to your ear and the middle ear.

Ear wax, after it is produced, slowly migrates through the ear canal, eventually landing near the opening of the ear. Then, it either falls out or comes out when you wash, usually during a shampoo.

Useful Wax

The outer ear canal produces ear wax for several reasons. One reason is to protect the ear drum, which is highly sensitive. When dirt or dust enters your ears, it becomes trapped in the ear wax. If it reached your ear drum, it could scratch or damage it. Also, ear wax moisturizes the inside of your ear, keeping it from becoming dry and itchy. Ear wax also fights germs. It contains germ-fighting chemicals that keep your ear, and ear drum, safe. Just like dirt and dust, germs also become trapped in the ear wax.

Keeping Clean

Some people think that you should remove ear wax. While it is true that ear wax can build up and block your ear, this is rare. It usually just comes out by itself, as discussed in Section 1. Still, if you are worried, you can clean the outside of your ear with a swab, but do not poke it very far into your ear. This can push wax too far into your ear, where it won't do your ear any good. In fact, you can cause bleeding if you poke anything too far into your ear.

If you suffer from hard, painful ear wax, place a drop of baby oil into each ear one time per week. This will also encourage the ear wax to migrate out of the ear.

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