We have all experienced ear wax in one way or another. It is a natural part of life whether it is gooey, flaky, or crusty. But what is it, why does our body produce it, and how does it impact our hearing? Ear wax is medically referred to as cerumen (pronounced seh-ROO-men). This normal, naturally occurring substance is secreted in the ear canal—the connection between your outer and inner ear. Ear wax is made up of secretions from the sebaceous and sweat glands, as well as sloughed off skin cells from the ear. Ear wax usually picks up a few more microscopic friends, ranging from hair, to dirt and other tiny debris as it slowly migrates to the outer ear. The waxy mixture then naturally makes the outward journey, usually nudged along by jaw motions such as talking or chewing.