You may have heard of an ear candling treatment offered by beauty therapists and salons who claim it can unblock your ears of wax, alleviate your blocked sinuses and even go as far as to say that it can draw out toxins from the blood. Described as “a triumph of ignorance over science” by medical professionals, ear candling involves placing one end of a special kind of candle into the ear, while lighting the other end to burn down.
The claim is that the heat of the burning produces a vacuum, bringing the wax and other entities out of the canal into the candle. As this sounds scientific, it can easily convince people of its efficacy. Others believe that the heat of the candle can melt the wax inside the canal and cause it to fall out over the next few days. When the treatment is finished, the candle is cut open and you can see what has been removed from the canal in the form of a darker wax-like substance.
In short, these are bogus claims. If you are looking to get your ears cleared then other, far more proven methods are readily available.
Let’s talk about how we know that ear candling does not – and cannot – remove wax from your ear canal and why it should be avoided:
Ear candling can cause more harm than good and result in injury to the skin, ear canal and beyond. Burning a flame inches from your ear is never a good idea and in one particular reported case resulted in hearing loss. In the said case, when trying to remove the candle from the client’s ear the therapist burnt herself with the hot wax and some also fell into the ear canal of the client. This had to be removed under general anaesthetic by an ENT consultant and resulted in perforation and mild hearing loss. At the one-month follow-up appointment after the removal, the perforation was still present and the hearing had not returned to normal. This describes just one of many negative experiences from ear candling. In a US study of 122 members of Northwest Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, “40 were aware of [ear candling] use by their patients, and 21 had treated ear injuries associated with ear candling”.
Ear candling is not the answer to your blocked ears or sinuses. If you feel you have a build-up of wax, then we recommend using olive oil to help soften it and book in for wax removal at your GP surgery or a wax removal specialist like Hear4U.