HEARING TIPS

Close up of ear candles that don't work to clean ear wax.

There’s a lingering idea in some circles that a practice known as “ear candling” is an effective way to decrease your earwax. What is ear candling, and does it work?

Earwax Candles, is it Effective?

Spoiler alert: No. They definitely don’t work.

Why then do otherwise logical people persistently believe in this pseudo-science. It’s difficult to say with much precision. But although the sensible decision is fairly clear, understanding more about the dangers of earwax candling will help us make an educated choice.

Earwax Candling, What is it?

So the basic setup goes like this: Perhaps you aren’t certain how to eradicate all your built up earwax. You know you aren’t supposed to use cotton swabs (which is good, cotton swabs are not a great way to clear out your ears, generally speaking). So, after doing some research, you find a method known as earwax candling.

Here’s how earwax candling theoretically works: You develop a pressure differential by cramming the candle into your ear, wick side out. The wax inside of your ear, then, is pulled outward, towards the freedom of the open world. Theoretically, the pressure difference is enough to break up that may be log-jamming in your ear. But cleaning your ears this way can be dangerous.

The Reason Why Ear Candling Doesn’t Work

There are several issues with this process, including the fact that the physics just don’t work. There’s just no way for a candle to produce that type of pressure differential (and in order to move earwax around, that pressure difference would have to be pretty substantial indeed). Also, a candle doesn’t possess the sort of seal required to hold pressure.

Now, the candles used in these “treatments” are supposedly special. All of the wax that was in your ear can be found within the hollow portion of the candle which can be broken apart when you’re finished with your 15 minutes of ear candling. But the problem is you can find this same material in new unburned candles as well. So the whole practice amounts to fraud.

Scientific research has been unable to prove any benefit involving earwax candling.

So we Know Ear Candling Doesn’t Work But is it Dangerous?

What’s the danger in giving it a shot, right? Well, you’re asking for trouble anytime you get a hot candle around your ears. Look, it’s quite possible that you may try ear candling and leave completely unharmed. People do it regularly. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks involved, and it definitely doesn’t mean that ear candling is safe.

The negative effects of ear candling can include:

  • Your ear can be seriously burned. Severe hearing issues and burns can be the outcome of getting hot wax in your ear. This could permanently jeopardize your hearing in the most severe cases.
  • Any time you’re mucking about with an open flame, there’s a possibility that you could cause significant injury and put your life in danger. Seriously, you could burn your house down. It’s not worth the risk to attempt this useless technique of wax removal.
  • Candle wax can also clog up your ear canal after it cools down. You could wind up temporarily losing your hearing or even needing surgery in extreme cases.

You Don’t Need a Candle to Keep Your Ears Clean

In the majority of situations you will never even need to be concerned about cleaning earwax out. That’s because your ears are actually pretty good about cleaning themselves! But you could be one of those individuals who have an abnormally heavy earwax production.

If you do need to clean out your ears because of too much wax, there are scientifically-proven (and reliable) ways to do that safely. For example, you could get a fluid wash. Another solution would be to consult a hearing care professional for an earwax cleaning.

You should continue to stay away from cotton swabs. And you should also stay away from using an open flame to clean out earwax. Earwax candling is a technique that has no benefit and will put your ears, and your entire person, at considerable risk of injury and damage. Try burning candles for their sent or for enjoyment but not as a means to clean your ears.

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