DIY is all the rage these days and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would probably be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.
But that feeling only lasts until your sink starts to leak again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep going back to. It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it? Let’s dive into exactly 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 occurs when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. An excessive amount of earwax can also cause this feeling and that can occur for various reasons. When this happens, you may experience some discomfort. You might even experience a temporary loss of hearing. It sort of stinks!
Because of this, some people believe they have found what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. Individuals believe that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the mix of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this approach. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly recommend against utilizing this practice ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advocates against this practice.
What are the downsides of ear candling?
Ear candling may feel safe, at first. It’s just a tiny flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And people on the internet claimed it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Ear candling can, unfortunately, be quite dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative affects can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You can push that earwax even further up into your ear: Putting 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 problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.
- Your Eardrum could accidentally get punctured: There’s a danger that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You might accidentally pierce your eardrum, causing considerable discomfort and harm to your hearing. Frequently, this is something that must be treated by a hearing professional.
- Your face could be severely burned: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. 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 severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are very hot. Your ear is really sensitive and substantial burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
- Your ear can have residual 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 significant discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s utterly dangerous.
A better way to deal with earwax
Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. Issues start when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t drain effectively. So what should you do if making use of a candle is a bad strategy?
Consult a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax blockage. They might advise some at-home alternatives (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to kind of run out by itself). But in some cases, they will do a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that let them clean out wax without injuring your ear.
Generally, you should stay away from techniques such as utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. 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
Schedule an appointment with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We will be able to help you clean any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.