Wax is a normal occurence in the ear canals. It is formed by the mixture of skin cells and the secretions from the glands of the ear canal. It acts as a bacteriostatic compound as well as a waterproof for the ear canal.
Wax does become troublesome in some circumstances. If excessivie in its production or if the ear canal is narrow or if there is some obstruction or worse still pushing of the wax into the earcanal then the wax can occlude the ear canal and cause pain discomfort, hearing loss and even a swimmers ear (otitis externa).
Wax can be encouraged to extrude itself by softening with oil. It can be removed with irrigation devices in the General Practice setting and almost all practitioners have moved away from the older and more dangerous techniques of ear syringing which were high pressure systems prone to complications. With a microscope the ENT surgeon can use instruments like a Jobson Horne probe, crocodile forceps or what is often employed is a microsuction device to safely remove the wax to reveal the eardrum.