Everybody loves a quick fix, especially when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.
But that feeling only continues until your sink starts to leak again. That’s because sometimes the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep going back to. It sounds… sort of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everyone has had the feeling of a stuffy ear now and then. Sometimes, it happens when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. An excessive amount of earwax can also cause this feeling and that can happen for a variety of reasons. This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing might even temporarily go. It sort of stinks!
Some people, as a result, think that ear candling is just the cheap and novel fix they need. The concept is that a special hollow candle is placed in your ear (non-burning end). People imagine that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the mix of heat and pressure changes in your ear.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this technique. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no proof that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advocate against ever using this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)
The drawbacks 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 plenty of people online who claim that it’s perfectly safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?
Sadly, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be absolutely hazardous. What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- 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 discomfort.
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you could burn your face. Accidents will happen! Serious burns on the face aren’t the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
- 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 smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can sticking a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.
- You might accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You may accidentally pierce your eardrum, causing significant discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this happens it’s very likely that you will have to get professional help.
- Your ear can be severely burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are very hot. If the candle tips or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some considerable burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? No… not even a little! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s utterly dangerous.
A better way to handle earwax
Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you start 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 obstruction, the most beneficial thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. Usually, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out on its own. But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
We can clean out the wax safely with specialized tools and training.
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 surplus earwax that’s causing you some distress. We will be able to help you clear any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.