The production of earwax is a natural process of the body used to protect the ear canal from a laceration or infection.
The Medical Service Clinic in Madrid explains that the majority of cases of earwax blockage can be treated at home. In order to soften earwax, baby oil, glycerin or petroleum jelly can be used. Another method to extract it is called irrigation. The website Medline plus warns that cleaning the ear incorrectly can lead to damage ranging from a simple blockage, to infections, perforations or other types of lesions.
If you are unable to extract plugged earwax or if irrigation causes discomfort, see a physician to have the earwax extracted by suctioning the external ear canal with a small device called a curette, or by using the help of a microscope.
Hearing specialists (known as Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists) advise against using cotton swabs (or Q-tips) because instead of cleaning them, it pushes the earwax further back and creates a plug. Over time, this can lead to damages to the eardrum, to the bones of the ear or, if the inner ear is affected, this can lead to vertigo, balance problems or hearing loss.
Some of the symptoms that can warn of a blocked external ear canal include earaches, a sensation that the organ is blocked, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and partial hearing loss.