The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everybody loves an easy fix, particularly when the fix is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy the suggested tools, and get to work! A plumber would most likely be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.

At least, until your sink starts leaking again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.

It isn’t always easy to admit that this is the situation. 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 called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.

Ear candling – what is it?

Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, it takes place when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other instances, it may occur because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be really uncomfortable. You may even notice a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It’s no fun!

Because of this, some individuals imagine they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is placed in your ear (non-burning end). People imagine that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the blend of heat and pressure changes in your ear.

Healthcare professionals definitely don’t suggest this technique. Do ear candles actually draw wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence that ear candling is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Essentially, most hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend against ever utilizing this practice. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also strongly advises against this approach.

What are the disadvantages of ear candling?

Initially, ear candling might seem perfectly safe. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And individuals on the internet claimed it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be very dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. Your ear is very sensitive and significant burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere 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.
  • Your Eardrum might accidentally get punctured: There’s a danger that comes with pushing anything in your ears! You may accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing considerable discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
  • The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Inserting an ear candle inside your ear can actually force earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize 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 outcome.
  • You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! It’s all too easy for candle wax to drip into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to become severely burned.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.

A better way to Tackle earwax

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful 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 start to have problems. So… if you can’t use a burning candle to remove earwax, what should you do?

Consult a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax blockage. Normally, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

We can remove the wax safely with specialized tools and training.

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 accumulated 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.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.