The ear canal is lined with hair follicles and glands that produce a waxy oil called cerumen. Sometimes the glands produce more wax than can be easily excreted out the ear. This extra wax may harden within the ear canal and block the ear.
Review Date 5/17/2018
Updated by: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 10/01/2018.