DIY is all the rage nowadays and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.
At least, until your sink starts to leak again. Because, as it so happens, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep going back to. It sounds… sort of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.
What is ear candling?
Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other cases, it might happen because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s not fun!
Some people, because of this, think that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel fix they need. The idea is that a special hollow candle is placed in your ear (non-burning end). Individuals imagine that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the blend of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.
It should be immediately mentioned that ear candling is not recommended by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s claimed to work). In other words, most hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advise against ever using this practice. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA advising about ear candling? In essence, don’t do it!)
The drawbacks of ear candling
Initially, ear candling may seem perfectly safe. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet said it was safe! So, how can ear candling be harmful?
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What negative affects can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You can push that earwax even further up into your ear: Inserting an ear candle inside your ear can actually jam 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 result.
- You could seriously burn your face: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll get a burn. 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 get severely burned.
- You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. If the tip of the candle or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
- Your ear can have residual candle wax drip in there: 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, affect your hearing.
- You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, creating significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. Often, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals recommend ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just useless, it’s utterly dangerous.
A better way to manage earwax
Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. Issues start when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?
If you have an earwax blockage, the best thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. They may advise some at-home alternatives (including using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to sort of run out by itself). But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.
Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that allow them to clear away wax without harming your ear.
Generally, you should avoid techniques like 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
Schedule an appointment with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away any stubborn earwax.