The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everyone loves a quick fix, especially when the fix is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would most likely be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.

But that feeling only lasts 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. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It sounds… sort of gross, right? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a stuffy-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, it occurs when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other situations, it may occur because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. You may even experience a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It’s no fun!

Because of this, some people imagine they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is placed in your ear (non-burning end). Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.

Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this technique. Do ear candles actually draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling is effective (especially not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly recommend against using this strategy ever. (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 drawbacks of ear candling?

At first, ear candling might feel perfectly safe. It’s not like it’s a huge flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And there are a lot of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?

Unfortunately, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be downright dangerous. What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:

  • Your Eardrum may accidentally get punctured: There’s a risk that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You may accidentally pierce your eardrum, causing significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will have to get professional assistance.
  • Your ear can be seriously burned: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. Your ear is really sensitive and considerable burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
  • The earwax can be crammed 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 obstruction, so too can sticking a specialized candle in your ear. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the outcome.
  • 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. Accidents will happen! It’s all too easy for candle wax to drip into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to get severely burned.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? No… not even a little! Not only is ear candling not practical, it’s actually quite dangerous!

So how should you get rid of earwax?

Ear wax is usually pretty healthy. In normal amounts, it’s good for your ears. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining properly) that you begin to have issues. So… if you can’t use a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?

Consult a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax blockage. Normally, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to loosen the wax allowing it to drip out by itself. 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 harming your ear.

It’s best to steer clear of 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.

How to help your ears feel better

Schedule an appointment with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some distress. We will be capable of helping you remove 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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