Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage these days and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. It may take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no replacement for the satisfaction you feel, right?

At least, until your sink starts to leak again. That’s because sometimes the skill and experience of a professional can’t be successfully substituted for a quick fix.

Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep coming back to. It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it probably 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? On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. In other instances, it might occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). When this happens, you might experience some discomfort. You might even experience a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It’s not fun!

This means that some individuals think they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put in your ear (non-burning end). People believe that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the combination of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.

It should be immediately mentioned that ear candling is not encouraged by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles actually draw wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly advocate against utilizing this technique ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also strongly advocates against this practice.

What are the downsides of ear candling?

At first, ear candling may seem completely safe. It’s a really small flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And there are a lot of people online who maintain that it’s completely safe. So, how can ear candling be dangerous?

Ear candling can, regrettably, be really hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative affects can ear candling have? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:

  • You can jam that earwax even further 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 blockage, so too can inserting a specialized candle in your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! This can lead to all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are really hot. Your ear is extremely sensitive and significant burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
  • You could seriously burn your face: 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 dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • You may accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You might accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating considerable discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this happens it’s very likely that you will have to get professional help.
  • You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.

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

A better way to handle earwax

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. Issues begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad idea?

Consult a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. Usually, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to loosen the wax allowing it to drip out on its own. But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to remove wax without damaging your ear.

It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or physician.

Give your ears some relief

Schedule an appointment with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment


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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