DIY is all the rage these days and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the ideal plumbing tutorial, buy the suggested tools, and go 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. Because, as it turns out, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-honed skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. And, in part, that’s why individuals will frequently continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which might help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very pleasing, does it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. In some cases, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other instances, 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 really uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It sort of stinks!
As a result, some individuals think 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). Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
It should be immediately noted that ear candling isn’t advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s claimed to work). In other words, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly recommend against ever using this practice. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also strongly advises against this approach.
The drawbacks of ear candling
Ear candling may feel safe, at first. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And people on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how could ear candling be dangerous?
Ear candling can, regrettably, be really dangerous and there’s no way of getting around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you could burn your face. Accidents will happen! 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 become seriously burned.
- You can severely burn your ear: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. Your ear is really sensitive and significant burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax drip in there: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
- You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a risk that comes with inserting anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer significant damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Often, this is something that has to be treated by a hearing professional.
- You can jam that earwax even further up into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can pack the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can sticking a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.
So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Not only is ear candling not practical, it’s actually really dangerous!
A better way to deal with earwax
Ear wax is typically pretty healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you start to have problems. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?
If you have an earwax obstruction, the most beneficial thing to do might be consulting with a hearing specialist. They may suggest some at-home remedies (including using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to kind of run out by itself). But in some circumstances, they will do a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that let them clean out wax without harming your ear.
It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. 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
If surplus earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule 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.