Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage nowadays and everyone likes a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. It may take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no replacement for the gratification you feel, right?

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

It’s not always easy to admit that this is the situation. And, to some extent, that’s why individuals will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a stuffy-ear kind of feeling? On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other situations, it may occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. You may even notice a temporary loss of hearing. It’s not fun!

As a result, some people think they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put in your ear (non-burning end). People imagine that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the combination of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.

It should be quickly mentioned that ear candling is not advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Essentially, most hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advocate against ever using this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also firmly advises against this approach.

What are the disadvantages of ear candling?

Initially, ear candling might seem completely safe. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And individuals on the internet said it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?

Ear candling can, regrettably, be very hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:

  • Your ear can have residual candle wax drip in there: 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.
  • You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! Serious burns on the face aren’t the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • Your ear can be seriously burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are extremely hot. If the candle tips or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
  • You may accidentally pierce your eardrum: There’s a risk that comes with sticking anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer substantial damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Frequently, this is something that must be treated by a hearing professional.
  • You can jam that earwax even further into your ear: In much the same way that pushing a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can inserting a specialized candle in your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! This can cause all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to severe infections.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.

So how should you get rid of earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you start to have difficulty. So… if you can’t use a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?

Seek advice from a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax blockage. They might advise some at-home solutions (including using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to kind of slide out on its own). But in some instances, they will perform a cleaning for you.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clear away wax without damaging your ear.

It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or doctor.

Give your ears some relief

If accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away 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.
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