Everybody loves a quick fix, particularly when the fix is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy 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 leaking 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 individuals will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does 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? In some cases, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other instances, it may happen because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be really uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s no fun!
This means that some people believe they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
It should be quickly mentioned that ear candling isn’t advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles actually pull wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s supposed to work). In other words, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend against ever using this technique. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)
The negative aspects of ear candling
Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s not like it’s a giant flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are lots of people online who maintain that it’s perfectly safe. So, how could ear candling be dangerous?
Sadly, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What negative impacts can ear candling have? Ear candling can impact your health in the following negative and possibly painful ways:
- Your ear can be seriously burned: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. Your ear is very sensitive and considerable burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
- The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Inserting an ear candle inside your ear can actually jam earwax further into the ear canal much like when you use a cotton swab. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.
- 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 face could be severely burned: There’s always a fairly good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. Everyone has accidents now and then. It’s all too easy for candle wax to drip into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to become severely burned.
- Your Eardrum might accidentally get punctured: There’s a risk that comes with inserting anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer significant harm 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, is ear candling approved by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.
A better way to manage earwax
Ear wax is normally pretty healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. Issues start when there’s an overabundance of earwax or when it won’t drain effectively. So what should you do if making use of a candle is a bad strategy?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax blockage. Usually, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
We can remove the wax safely with specialized tools and training.
It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless directed by your hearing specialist or physician.
Give your ears some relief
If accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or distress, you should make an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by removing any stubborn earwax.