DIY is all the rage these days and everybody 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! A plumber would probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.
But that feeling only lasts until your sink begins to leak again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.
It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. And, in part, that’s why individuals will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very pleasing, does 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. Occasionally, it happens when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other cases, it may happen because you have too much earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It sort of stinks!
Because of this, some people think they have found what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.
It should be quickly noted that ear candling isn’t encouraged by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles actually pull wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling is effective (especially not in the way that it’s supposed to work). In other words, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly recommend against ever utilizing this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also strongly advises against this practice.
What are the downsides of ear candling?
Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s not like it’s a huge flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are plenty of people online who maintain that it’s perfectly safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Ear candling can, regrettably, be very hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative affects can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. Your ear is really sensitive and substantial burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
- Your Eardrum could accidentally get punctured: There’s a danger that comes with sticking anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer significant harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Often, this is something that must be treated by a hearing professional.
- Your face could be seriously burned: There’s always a pretty good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Everybody has accidents now and then. It’s all too easy for candle wax to drip into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to get severely burned.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, residual ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
- You can jam that earwax even further up into your ear: Inserting an ear candle into your ear can actually push earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. 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.
So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s utterly dangerous.
So how should you clear away earwax?
Ear wax is usually rather healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you begin to have issues. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?
Seek advice from a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. Normally, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But in some instances, they will perform a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clean out wax without injuring your ear.
It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should go into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or physician.
Give your ears some relief
Schedule a consultation with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away any stubborn earwax.