The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage these days and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, go get the recommended tools, and get to work! A plumber would most likely be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.

At least, until your sink begins to leak again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-honed skills of a professional.

It isn’t always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. And, to some extent, that’s why individuals will often continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that appealing, does it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear now and then. Occasionally, it takes place when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. Too much earwax can also cause this feeling and that can happen for a number of reasons. When this occurs, you may experience some discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s no fun!

Some individuals, as a result, think that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel fix they need. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put into your ear (non-burning end). Individuals imagine that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the combination of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.

Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t suggest this approach. If you’re searching for evidence that ear candling actually works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically advocate against utilizing this technique ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also firmly advises against this approach.

What are the drawbacks of ear candling?

Ear candling may feel safe, at first. It’s not like it’s a huge flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And people on the internet said it was safe! So, how could ear candling be dangerous?

Unfortunately, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely hazardous. What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • Your Eardrum may accidentally get punctured: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! Your hearing will suffer considerable damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this happens it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
  • Your ear can have surplus candle wax left behind: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. This leftover wax can cause acute discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
  • You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. Your ear is extremely sensitive and significant burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • The earwax can be crammed even further into your ear: Inserting an ear candle into your ear can actually jam earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! This can result in all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • 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 might burn your face. Accidents will happen! 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.

So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just useless, it’s downright dangerous.

A better way to handle earwax

Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. Problems start when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t drain effectively. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad idea?

If you have an earwax obstruction, the best thing to do might be speaking with a hearing specialist. Normally, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clean out wax without injuring 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 directed by your hearing specialist or physician.

How to help your ears feel better

If surplus earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should make 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.


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.