What You Should Know About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage these days and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. 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?

At least, until your sink starts to leak again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.

Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep coming back to. It doesn’t really sound very pleasing, does it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.

What is ear candling?

Everyone has had the feeling of a stuffy ear now and then. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. In other situations, it may happen because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). When this happens, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s not fun!

Some individuals, because of this, believe that ear candling is just the cheap and novel fix they need. The idea is that a special hollow candle is put in your ear (non-burning end). Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.

It should be immediately mentioned that ear candling is not advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no proof that ear candling is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s claimed to work). In other words, most hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advise against ever using this approach. Ear candling also has no effect on sinus pressure.

The FDA also firmly advises against this practice.

What are the downsides of ear candling?

At first, ear candling might feel completely safe. It’s a really small flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are a lot of people online who claim that it’s perfectly safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?

Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely hazardous. What negative impacts can ear candling have? Ear candling can impact your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:

  • Your face could be seriously burned: There’s always a fairly good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Accidents will happen! Severe 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 severely burned: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. If the tip of the candle or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
  • The earwax can be crammed even further into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can pack the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can pushing a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can result in all sorts of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: Even if you don’t get burned, residual ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
  • Your Eardrum may accidentally get pierced: There’s a danger that comes with sticking anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer considerable damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will have to get professional help.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? Not at all! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually quite dangerous!

So how should you clear away earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. Problems start when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t drain effectively. So what should you do if making use of a candle is a bad strategy?

If you have an earwax obstruction, the best thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. They might advise some at-home solutions (like using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of run out on its own). But in some circumstances, they will do a cleaning for you.

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

In general, you should stay away from techniques such as utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good policy to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

Give your ears some relief

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


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.