Cerumen (wax) is produced in the cartilaginous portion of the external ear canal (EAC). This can be easily identified as the area that the hairs grow. Normal wax varies in colour from yellow to brown.
The skin of the tympanic membrane and EAC migrates outward and in doing so the ear self-cleans.
Occasionally, for one reason or another, this process may be inhibited. For example, impaction of wax with a cotton bud, altered anatomy secondary to otological surgery or even in a patient wearing hearing aids.
The old idiom states, 'you should put nothing smaller than your elbow in your ear', and this is very true.