Everyone loves a quick fix, particularly when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the right plumbing tutorial, go get 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 substitute 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-sharpened skills of a professional.
It isn’t always easy to admit that this is the case. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep coming back to. It doesn’t really sound that appealing, does it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s dig into that.
What is ear candling?
Have you ever had a plugged-ear kind of feeling? Sometimes, it takes place when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other cases, it may occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have any number of causes). When this happens, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It kind of stinks!
This means that some individuals believe they have discovered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put into your ear (non-burning end). Individuals believe that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the mix of heat and pressure changes in your ear.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t encourage this technique. If you’re looking for proof that ear candling really works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. In other words, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend against ever utilizing this approach. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)
What are the downsides of ear candling?
Initially, ear candling might feel completely safe. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are plenty of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Ear candling can, regrettably, be quite dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a fairly good chance that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you could burn your face. 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.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax drip in there: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. This leftover wax can cause serious discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
- You might accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! Your hearing will suffer substantial damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Often, this is something that needs to be addressed by a hearing professional.
- The earwax can be crammed even further into your ear: Inserting an ear candle into your ear can actually force earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can result in all sorts of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are very hot. Your ear is very sensitive and substantial burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? No… not even a little bit! Not only is ear candling not practical, it’s actually really dangerous!
So how should you eliminate earwax?
Ear wax is typically pretty healthy. In normal quantities, it’s beneficial for your ears. Problems begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to remove earwax, what should you do?
Seek advice from 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 soften the wax allowing it to drip out on its own. But in some instances, they will do a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clear away wax without harming 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 policy 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 bit of discomfort or misery, you should make an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by removing any stubborn earwax.