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The ceruminous glands of the external auditory canal secrete small quantities of a semi-solid, light yellow substance, called cerumen or wax. The secretion is produced in such small amounts as to be unnoticed and by the action of the lower jaw is propelled toward the exterior of the canal, entangling small foreign substances and to a certain extent protecting the deeper and more delicate structures. If for any cause the secretion of cerumen is increased in amount or by osseous or other changes, the configuration of the canal become altered; this outward movement is restricted and the cerumen being retained, undergoes change producing the condition known as ceruminosis obturans, or more commonly called impacted cerumen or wax plug.
The size and density of the cerumen mass varies with the secretory activity of the glands and the length of time which it remains in the auditory canal. The increase in size
SOMERS LS. CERUMINOSIS OBTURANS. JAMA. 1897;XXVIII(17):787–788. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440170021001k
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