DIY is all the rage these days and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the right 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 begins leaking again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
It isn’t always easy to admit that this is the case. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? Occasionally, 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 number of reasons. This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It sort of stinks!
This means that some individuals think they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The idea is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow design of the candle changes the air pressure within your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this approach. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling is effective (especially not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly recommend against ever utilizing this approach. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA advising about ear candling? Essentially, don’t do it!)
The negative aspects of ear candling
At first, ear candling might seem completely safe. It’s not like it’s a huge flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet said it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What are the negative effects of ear candling? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and possibly painful ways:
- 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 face could be seriously burned: Look, any time you’re holding candles that close to your face, there’s a good possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everyone has accidents now and then. Severe burns on the face are not the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
- You could accidentally pierce your eardrum: There’s a danger 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 assistance.
- You can push that earwax 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 inserting 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 outcome.
- You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are extremely hot. Your ear is extremely sensitive and significant burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.
A better way to Tackle earwax
Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal amounts, it’s good for your ears. Issues start when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t drain effectively. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad idea?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax blockage. They may recommend some at-home alternatives (such as using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of slide out on its own). But in some cases, they will do a cleaning for you.
We can eliminate the wax safely with specialty tools and training.
In general, you should stay away from techniques such as using cotton swabs and earwax candling. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good policy to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.
How to help your ears feel better
Schedule a consultation with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some distress. We will be able to help you remove any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.