Wax is not dirt, nor are earbuds useful. An ear full of wax is generally a healthy ear. Wax (cerumen) is made in the outer one-third of the ear canal and can vary in colour from black to a pale brown.

It can also be very hard or moist. It has a number of functions: Mechanical trapping of dust etc. lubricating the canal skin, protecting the drum from water, and also has anti-microbial activity. Wax slowly moves out of the ear canal and falls out at a rate similar to the speed a nail grows.

Where does ear wax come from: