Earwax (also spelled ear wax), medically referred to as cerumen, is produced by glands in the outer ear canal. Its purpose is to trap dust and other small particles and prevent them from reaching and potentially damaging the eardrum. Earwax may also prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in the ear canal.
Blockage, or impaction of earwax occurs when the wax gets pushed deep within the ear canal or fills the width of the canal. Earwax blockage affects about 6% of people and is the most common ear problem doctors see.
Picture of the ear and earwax build-up
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/3/2015
Gayle M Galletta, MD
Must Read Articles Related to Earwax
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Earwax:
Earwax - Treatment
What has effectively removed your earwax buildup?
- Early Care for Your Premature Baby
- What to Eat When You Have Cancer
- When to Take More Pain Medication