DIY is all the rage these days and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. It might take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no replacement for the satisfaction you feel, right?
At least, 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 hard to admit. And, to some extent, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.
What is ear candling?
Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? Occasionally, it happens when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. Too much earwax can also cause this feeling and that can happen for various reasons. When this occurs, you may experience some discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s not fun!
This means that some individuals imagine they have found what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.
It should be immediately recognized that ear candling isn’t recommended by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly advocate against using this technique ever. Ear candling also has no effect on sinus pressure.
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA advising about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)
The drawbacks of ear candling
Ear candling may feel safe, at first. It’s a really small flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are plenty of people online who claim that it’s perfectly safe. So, how could ear candling be harmful?
Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely hazardous. What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. If the tip of the candle or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some considerable burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
- Your face could be seriously burned: There’s always a fairly good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you might burn your face. Everyone has accidents now and then. 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 leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. This Leftover wax can cause serious discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
- Your Eardrum might accidentally get pierced: There’s a danger that comes with pushing anything in your ears! You may accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this takes place it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
- The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: In much the same way that pushing a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can pushing a specialized candle into 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 result.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only ineffective, it’s downright dangerous.
So how should you clear away earwax?
Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you begin to have difficulty. So what should you do if using a candle is a bad strategy?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. They might recommend some at-home alternatives (including using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of slide out by itself). But in some cases, they will perform a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clean out wax without harming your ear.
It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good strategy to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.
Give your ears some relief
If excess earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or misery, you should make an appointment with us. We will be able to help you clear any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.