DIY is all the rage nowadays and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the right 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 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.
It isn’t always easy to admit that this is the case. 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 called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… kind of gross, right? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.
What is ear candling?
Everyone has had the feeling of a stuffy ear from time to time. On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. An excessive amount of earwax can also trigger this feeling and that can occur for a number of reasons. When this happens, you might experience some discomfort. You may even notice a temporary loss of hearing. It’s not fun!
Some people, as a result, believe that ear candling is just the cheap and novel fix they need. The concept 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 inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
It should be immediately recognized that ear candling is not encouraged by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly recommend against using this technique ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advocates against this approach.
The negative aspects of ear candling
Ear candling may feel safe, initially. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And there are a lot of people online who maintain that it’s completely safe. So, how can ear candling be dangerous?
Ear candling can, unfortunately, 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 (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- The earwax can be crammed 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 blockage, so too can pushing a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can result in all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- You may accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a risk that comes with pushing anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer significant harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this takes place it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
- Your ear can be severely burned: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. If the candle tips or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
- Your ear can have surplus 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 acute discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
- Your face could be severely burned: Look, whenever you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll get a burn. Everybody has accidents now and then. Serious burns on the face are not the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals recommend ear candling? No… not even a little! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually quite dangerous!
So how should you remove earwax?
Earwax is actually a good thing. 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 correctly) that you begin to have difficulty. So… if you can’t make use of a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. They might recommend some at-home solutions (such as using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to kind of slide out on its own). But they may also clean out your ear during your visit.
We can get rid of the wax safely with specialty tools and training.
In general, you should avoid techniques like utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless directed by your hearing specialist or physician.
How to help your ears feel better
Schedule an appointment with us if you have accumulated 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.