Everybody loves a quick fix, especially when the fix is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy the recommended tools, and get to work! It might take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no substitute for the satisfaction you feel, right?
But that feeling only lasts until your sink starts to leak again. Because, as it turns out, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. And, in part, 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, in some cases, earwax candling). It sounds… kind of gross, right? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s dig into that.
Ear candling – what is it?
Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, it happens when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other instances, it may occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing might even temporarily go. It’s no fun!
This means that some individuals believe they have found what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The idea is that a special hollow candle is placed in your ear (non-burning end). People believe that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the combination of heat and pressure changes in your ear.
Healthcare professionals definitely don’t encourage this approach. If you’re searching for evidence that ear candling really works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. In other words, most hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically advise against ever utilizing this technique. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advocates against this approach.
The negative aspects of ear candling
At first, ear candling may feel completely safe. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are plenty of people online who maintain that it’s perfectly safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Sadly, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What negative affects can ear candling have? Ear candling can impact your health in the following negative and possibly painful ways:
- The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Putting an ear candle inside your ear can actually force earwax further into the ear canal much like when you use a cotton swab. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can trigger all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can go into your ears. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the discomfort.
- Your face could be severely burned: Look, whenever you’re holding candles that close to your face, there’s a good possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everyone has accidents now and then. Severe burns on the face are not the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or drip hot wax into your eye.
- Your Eardrum may accidentally get punctured: There’s a risk that comes with pushing anything in your ears! You may accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. Often, this is something that needs to be treated by a hearing professional.
- Your ear can be seriously burned: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. Your ear is extremely sensitive and significant burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals recommend ear candling? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s utterly dangerous.
So how should you get rid of earwax?
Ear wax is generally pretty healthy. In normal quantities, it’s beneficial for your ears. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you begin to have problems. So… if you can’t make use of a burning candle to remove earwax, what should you do?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax obstruction. Normally, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to drip out by itself. But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
We can remove the wax safely with specialized tools and training.
Generally, you should stay away from 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.
How to help your ears feel better
Schedule a consultation with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some distress. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.