DIY is all the rage nowadays and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the ideal plumbing tutorial, go get the suggested tools, and go to work! It might take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no substitute for the gratification you feel, right?
At least, until your sink starts leaking again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. And, to some extent, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which may help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that pleasing, does it? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s dig into that.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everyone has had the feeling of a stuffy ear from time to time. Occasionally, it occurs when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. Too much earwax can also cause this feeling and that can occur for various reasons. When this takes place, you might experience some discomfort. You might even experience a temporary loss of hearing. It sort of stinks!
This means that some people imagine they have discovered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The idea is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t suggest this approach. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against utilizing this strategy ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advocates against this practice.
The drawbacks of ear candling
Initially, ear candling may feel perfectly safe. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are lots of people online who claim that it’s perfectly safe. So, how can ear candling be dangerous?
Ear candling can, regrettably, be quite hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You could severely burn your face: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a good possibility you’ll burn yourself. Accidents will happen! It’s all too easy for candle wax to trickle into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to get severely burned.
- Your Eardrum may accidentally get pierced: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! Your hearing will suffer considerable harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Often, this is something that has to be addressed by a hearing professional.
- You can push that earwax even further up 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 sticking a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the result.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax drip in there: Even if you don’t get burned, residual ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. This Leftover wax can cause serious discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
- Your ear can be seriously burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. Your ear is extremely sensitive and considerable burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just useless, it’s downright dangerous.
A better way to manage earwax
Ear wax is normally rather healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you start to have difficulty. So… if you can’t make use of a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax blockage. They may advise some at-home remedies (including using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to kind of slide out by itself). But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clear away wax without injuring 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
Schedule an appointment with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We will be able to help you clear any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.