Ear wax is a yellow waxy substance which is produced by the sweat glands in the ear canals. Normally it clears on its own by travelling to the outside where it can be removed by a probing finger. It is transported on the surface of the squamous epithelium. Skin cells which are formed at the centre of the eardrum migrate outwards towards the outside world. They carry the contaminated wax with it to where it can easily be removed with an ear bud.
It's sticky surface carries dust and particles out of the ear canal, keeping it clean, dry and open for sound to travel down. If it becomes clogged ear infections are more likely as the canal doesn't dry out properly. It makes a great habitat for bacteria and fungi to thrive and multiply.
Sometimes the system goes wrong and wax becomes impacted in the canal, particularly when it gets pushed back up the canal with cotton buds.
Sufferers of mild ear problems are better off with a good pair of molded ear plugs from www.zenplugs.com. This type are antibacterial, non-porous and washable. The ZenPlugs website is a great source of information for sufferers of ear maladies.
Dr Toby Bateson for zenplugs.com