Everybody loves an easy fix, especially when the fix is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. 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, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. And, to some extent, that’s why people will frequently continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which might help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very pleasing, does 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?
Everybody has had the feeling of a plugged ear now and then. Sometimes, it occurs when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. In other cases, it might occur because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have any number of causes). When this occurs, you might experience some discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s no fun!
Because of this, some individuals believe they have found what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t encourage this technique. If you’re looking for evidence that ear candling really works and pulls out wax, you won’t find any. In other words, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend 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? In essence, don’t do it!)
What are the disadvantages of ear candling?
Ear candling may feel safe, at first. It’s not like it’s a giant flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how can ear candling be dangerous?
Unfortunately, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What are the side effects of ear candling? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and possibly painful ways:
- You may accidentally pierce your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, creating significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this takes place it’s very likely that you will have to get professional assistance.
- 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 use 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 result.
- Your ear can be severely burned: 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 looking at some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. 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.
- Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can go into your ears. This Leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
So, is ear candling approved by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only ineffective, it’s downright dangerous.
A better way to deal with earwax
Ear wax is typically pretty healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you begin to have difficulty. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad idea?
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 drip out on its own. But they may also clean out your ear during your visit.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to remove wax without injuring your ear.
It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good strategy to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.
How to help your ears feel better
If accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be capable of helping you remove any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.