Hearing Health Blog

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage these days and everybody appreciates a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how 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 satisfaction you feel, right?

But that feeling only lasts 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.

Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. And, in part, that’s why individuals will often continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which may help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

Ear candling – what is it?

Everybody has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. Sometimes, it happens when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. In other situations, it may occur because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). When this happens, you might experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing might even temporarily go. It kind of stinks!

Some individuals, as a result, think that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel solution they need. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put into your ear (non-burning end). Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow design of the candle changes the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.

It should be immediately recognized that ear candling is not advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles actually pull wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against utilizing this technique ever. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.

The FDA also strongly advocates against this practice.

The negative aspects of ear candling

At first, ear candling may seem perfectly safe. It’s not like it’s a giant flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are a lot of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So, how can ear candling be dangerous?

Ear candling can, regrettably, be quite dangerous and there’s no way of getting around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • Your face could be seriously burned: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everyone has accidents once in a while. Serious burns on the face aren’t the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are very hot. Your ear is extremely sensitive and substantial burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
  • Your ear can have residual candle wax drip in there: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
  • You can push that earwax even further 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. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can lead to all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with pushing anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer substantial harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.

So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.

A better way to deal with earwax

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

If you have an earwax blockage, the most beneficial thing to do may be talking to a hearing specialist. Normally, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.

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

It’s best to avoid 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

If surplus earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

References
https://www.fda.gov/consumers/health-fraud-scams/ear-candling-ineffective-and-risky

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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