Earwax is produced by glands in the ear canal. Although scientists are still not completely sure why we have earwax, it does trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from reaching, and potentially damaging or infecting the eardrum. Normally, the wax dries up and falls out of the ear, along with any trapped dust or debris. Everyone makes ear wax, but the amount and type are genetically determined just like hair color or height. When the glands make more earwax than is necessary, it may get hard and block the ear. When you clean your ears, you can accidentally push the wax deeper, causing a blockage. Wax buildup is a common reason for temporary hearing loss.
Your doctor can determine whether you have earwax blockage by looking in your ear with a special instrument that lights and magnifies your inner ear (otoscope).
Most cases of ear wax blockage can be treated at home. The following remedies can be used to soften wax in the ear: