What You Should Know About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage nowadays and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy 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 replacement for the gratification you feel, right?

But that feeling only lasts until your sink begins leaking again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-honed skills of a professional.

Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. And, to some extent, that’s why people will frequently continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… sort of gross, doesn’t it? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a stuffy-ear kind of feeling? Sometimes, it happens when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. In other situations, it may occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be really uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s no fun!

Some individuals, because of this, think that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel solution they need. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put in your ear (non-burning end). Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow design of the candle changes the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.

It should be quickly recognized that ear candling isn’t recommended by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advise against ever using this practice. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA advising about ear candling? Essentially, don’t do it!)

What are the disadvantages of ear candling?

Initially, ear candling might seem perfectly safe. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And individuals on the internet claimed it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be very hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative affects can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. This leftover wax can cause serious discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
  • You can push that earwax 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 inserting a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! This can result in all sorts of other complications from hearing loss to severe infections.
  • You might accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with pushing anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer substantial damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Frequently, this is something that must be treated by a hearing professional.
  • Your face could be seriously burned: Look, any time you’re holding candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everyone has accidents once in a while. 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 get seriously burned.
  • You can severely burn your ear: 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 facing some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).

So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t simply ineffective, it’s downright dangerous.

So how should you clear away earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. Issues begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So what should you do if using a candle is a bad strategy?

Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. Usually, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to drip out by itself. But in some circumstances, they will perform a cleaning for you.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clean out wax without harming your ear.

It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should go into your ears unless directed by your hearing specialist or doctor.

Give your ears some relief

If surplus earwax is causing you a little discomfort or distress, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be able to help you clear any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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