Everybody loves an easy fix, particularly when the fix is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the right plumbing tutorial, go get the suggested tools, and get to work! A plumber would probably be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.
But that feeling only lasts until your sink starts to leak again. That’s because sometimes the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively 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 called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.
Ear candling – what is it?
Have you ever had a stuffy-ear sort of feeling? On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other situations, it might happen 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 discovered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals definitely don’t recommend this technique. Do ear candles actually draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Nearly every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically advocate against utilizing this technique ever. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Essentially, don’t do it!)
The negative aspects of ear candling
Ear candling may feel safe, initially. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And people on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how can ear candling be dangerous?
Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What are the negative effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- Your face could be severely burned: Look, any time you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a good 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 seriously burned.
- Your ear can be severely burned: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. Your ear is really sensitive and significant burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
- The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Putting an ear candle into your ear can actually jam earwax further into the ear canal much like when you use a cotton swab. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! This can lead to all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- Your Eardrum could accidentally get pierced: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing significant discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this happens it’s very likely that you will have to get professional help.
- 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. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the discomfort.
So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually really dangerous!
So how should you eliminate earwax?
Ear wax is usually rather healthy. In normal amounts, it’s good for your ears. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you start to have problems. So what should you do if making use of a candle is a bad idea?
Seek advice from a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax obstruction. Normally, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to loosen the wax allowing it to run out on its own. But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.
We can remove the wax safely with specialty tools and training.
It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should go into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or physician.
How to help your ears feel better
If accumulated earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or distress, you should make an appointment with us. We will be capable of helping you remove any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.