What You Need to Know About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage nowadays and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the right plumbing tutorial, buy the recommended tools, and get to work! 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 leaking again. Because, as it so happens, in some cases a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-honed skills of a professional.

Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… sort of gross, right? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.

Ear candling – what is it?

Have you ever had a plugged-ear kind of feeling? Sometimes, it occurs when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. An excessive amount of earwax can also cause this feeling and that can occur for a number of reasons. When this occurs, you might experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing might even temporarily go. It’s no fun!

Some people, because of this, think that ear candling is just the cheap and novel solution they need. The idea is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. People think that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the blend of heat and pressure changes in your ear.

Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t suggest this technique. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence 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 has no effect on sinus pressure.

The FDA also strongly advises against this approach.

The negative aspects of ear candling

At first, ear candling might feel perfectly safe. It’s just a tiny flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And individuals on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how could ear candling be harmful?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be quite hazardous and there’s no way of getting around that! What are the negative effects of ear candling? Here are just a few of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • You can severely burn your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. Your ear is really sensitive and significant burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
  • You could seriously burn your face: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everybody 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 become seriously burned.
  • You can jam that earwax even further up 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 pushing a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.
  • Your Eardrum may accidentally get pierced: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! Your hearing will suffer significant damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will have to get professional help.
  • Your ear can have surplus candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the discomfort.

So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Not only is ear candling not practical, it’s actually very dangerous!

So how should you remove earwax?

Ear wax is usually pretty healthy. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you begin to have issues. So what should you do if using a candle is a bad idea?

Seek advice from a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax obstruction. They might advise some at-home remedies (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to sort of run out by itself). But they may also clean out your ear during your visit.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them remove wax without damaging your ear.

Generally, you should avoid techniques such as using cotton swabs and earwax candling. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good plan to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

Give your ears some relief

If accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or distress, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.


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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