Everybody loves a quick fix, especially when the fix is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? 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 by yourself.
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.
It’s not always easy to admit that this is the case. And, to some extent, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very pleasing, does it? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.
What is ear candling?
Have you ever had a stuffy-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, it happens when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. In other situations, it might happen because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. You may even notice a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It’s no fun!
Some people, as a result, believe that ear candling is just the cheap and novel solution they need. 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 blend of heat and pressure changes in your ear.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this practice. If you’re looking for proof that ear candling really works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against using this strategy ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advocates against this practice.
The drawbacks of ear candling
Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s just a tiny flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And there are lots of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Ear candling can, unfortunately, be really dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative affects can ear candling have? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:
- You could accidentally pierce your eardrum: There’s a risk that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing substantial discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will have to get professional assistance.
- You can push that earwax even further into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense blockage, so too can pushing a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! This can cause all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax drip in there: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can go into your ears. This Leftover wax can cause acute discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
- Your ear can be severely burned: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. If the candle tips or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
- You could seriously burn your face: There’s always a fairly good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Everyone has accidents now and then. 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 endorse ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s downright dangerous.
So how should you get rid of earwax?
Ear wax is normally rather healthy. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. Problems begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t drain effectively. So what should you do if using a candle is a bad plan?
If you have an earwax obstruction, the best thing to do might be speaking with a hearing specialist. They might advise some at-home remedies (like using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of run out by itself). But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
We can get rid of the wax safely with specialty tools and training.
It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good plan to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.
Give your ears some relief
If surplus earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or distress, you should make an appointment with us. We will be able to help you clean any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.