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Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everyone loves a quick fix, especially when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the right plumbing tutorial, go get the recommended tools, and go to work! It might take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no replacement for the satisfaction you feel, right?

But that feeling only continues until your sink starts to leak again. That’s because in some cases the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.

It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the situation. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very pleasing, does it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other situations, it may happen because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be really uncomfortable. You may even experience a temporary loss of hearing. It’s not fun!

This means that some individuals think they have found what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.

It should be quickly recognized that ear candling isn’t advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles actually draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend against ever utilizing this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA advising about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)

The drawbacks of ear candling

Ear candling may feel safe, initially. It’s just a tiny flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how can ear candling be dangerous?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be very dangerous and there’s no way of getting around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:

  • You could severely burn your face: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. Accidents will happen! Serious burns on the face are not the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
  • Your ear can be seriously burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are really hot. If the tip of the candle or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
  • You can jam that earwax even further up into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can sticking a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the outcome.
  • Your Eardrum might accidentally get pierced: There’s a danger that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, creating significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this takes place it’s very likely that you will need to get professional assistance.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s downright dangerous.

A better way to handle earwax

Ear wax is normally rather healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you begin to have issues. So… if you can’t use a burning candle to remove earwax, what should you do?

Consult a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax obstruction. Typically, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to loosen the wax allowing it to drip out by itself. But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to remove wax without harming your ear.

It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good plan to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

Give your ears some relief

Schedule a consultation with us if you have accumulated earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.