Everybody loves an easy fix, particularly when the fix is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the ideal plumbing tutorial, buy the recommended tools, and go to work! A plumber would probably be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.
But that feeling only lasts until your sink starts leaking again. That’s because in some cases the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.
Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… sort of gross, right? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. In other situations, it may happen because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). When this occurs, you might experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s no fun!
Some people, because of this, think that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel fix they need. The idea is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. People imagine that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the mix of heat and pressure changes in 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 is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Nearly every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against using this strategy ever. Ear candling also has no effect on 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?
Ear candling might feel safe, at first. It’s just a tiny flame. And you’re using “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 some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- Your ear can be seriously burned: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. If the candle tips or the wax gets where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
- 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 sticking a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the result.
- Your face could be severely burned: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. Accidents will happen! Severe burns on the face are not the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
- You might accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a risk that comes with inserting anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer considerable harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Often, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.
- 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. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the discomfort.
So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t simply ineffective, it’s downright dangerous.
So how should you clear away earwax?
Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. Issues begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?
If you have an earwax blockage, the best thing to do might be consulting with a hearing specialist. They may advise some at-home alternatives (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to sort of slide out on its own). But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clean out wax without injuring your ear.
In general, you should stay away from techniques such as using 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.
Give your ears some relief
If excess earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be capable of helping you clear any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.