DIY is all the rage these days and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy the recommended tools, and go to work! It may take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no substitute for the satisfaction you feel, right?
At least, until your sink begins leaking again. That’s because in some cases the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.
It’s not always easy to admit that this is the situation. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep coming back to. It sounds… sort of gross, right? 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. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. In other situations, it may occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have any number of causes). When this occurs, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. You might even experience a temporary loss of hearing. 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 put into your ear (non-burning end). Individuals think that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the combination of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.
Healthcare professionals definitely don’t encourage this practice. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Nearly every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against using this technique ever. Ear candling also has no effect on sinus pressure.
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)
The drawbacks of ear candling
Ear candling might feel safe, at first. It’s a really small flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are a lot of people online who claim that it’s perfectly safe. So, how could ear candling be dangerous?
Ear candling can, unfortunately, be quite dangerous and there’s no way of getting around that! What are the negative effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You may accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! Your hearing will suffer substantial damage and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will have to get professional help.
- 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 smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense blockage, so too can inserting a specialized candle in your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can lead to all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. If the tip of the candle or the wax gets where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
- Your face could be severely burned: There’s always a fairly good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Everybody has accidents once in a while. 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 severely burned.
- 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. This Leftover wax can cause acute discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s downright dangerous.
A better way to deal with earwax
Ear wax is normally rather healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you start to have difficulty. So what should you do if making use of a candle is a bad plan?
If you have an earwax blockage, the most beneficial thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. They might recommend some at-home remedies (including using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to sort of slide out by itself). But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that allow them to remove wax without injuring your ear.
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 excess earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by removing any stubborn earwax.