Everybody loves an easy fix, especially when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the ideal 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 substitute for the satisfaction you feel, right?
At least, until your sink starts leaking again. Because, as it turns out, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep coming back to. It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.
What is ear candling?
Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. In some cases, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. An excessive amount of earwax can also trigger this feeling and that can happen for a variety of reasons. When this happens, you may experience some discomfort. You might even notice a temporary loss of hearing. It kind of stinks!
This means that some individuals think they have found what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The idea is that a special hollow candle is placed into your ear (non-burning end). Individuals believe that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the blend of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t suggest this approach. 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 claimed to work). In other words, most hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advise against ever using this technique. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Essentially, don’t do it!)
What are the disadvantages of ear candling?
Ear candling may feel safe, initially. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And people on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how could ear candling be harmful?
Ear candling can, regrettably, be very dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a fairly good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. Everybody has accidents now and then. 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 become seriously burned.
- You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are really hot. Your ear is very sensitive and significant burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
- The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: In much the same way that pushing a Q-tip in your ear can pack the earwax into an ever-more-dense blockage, so too can sticking a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the result.
- You may accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You might accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating substantial discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will need to get professional assistance.
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? No… not even a little! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually really dangerous!
A better way to handle earwax
Ear wax is typically pretty healthy. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. Problems begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t use a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?
Consult a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. Usually, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to loosen the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But in some cases, they will do a cleaning for you.
We can get rid of the wax safely with specialty tools and training.
In general, you should stay away from techniques such as utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless directed by your hearing specialist or doctor.
How to help your ears feel better
If excess earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be able to help you clean any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.