The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage these days and everybody appreciates a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the ideal plumbing tutorial, go get the recommended tools, and go to work! A plumber would probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.

At least, until your sink begins leaking again. That’s because sometimes the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.

It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep coming back to. It sounds… sort of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a stuffy-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. In other cases, it might occur because you have a surplus of 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 sort of stinks!

As a result, some people 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 into your ear (non-burning end). People think that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the blend of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.

Healthcare professionals definitely don’t encourage this technique. Do ear candles actually draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically advocate against using this technique ever. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.

The FDA also strongly advocates against this practice.

The drawbacks of ear candling

Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are a lot of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?

Unfortunately, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What are the negative effects of ear candling? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:

  • 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. 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 get severely burned.
  • You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. Your ear is very sensitive and substantial burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • 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 blockage, so too can sticking a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the result.
  • Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, residual ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the discomfort.
  • You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You may accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing substantial discomfort and damage to your hearing. Frequently, this is something that has to be treated by a hearing professional.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? No… not even a little! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t simply ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.

A better way to handle earwax

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. Problems start when there’s an overabundance of earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad idea?

Seek advice from a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax blockage. They may suggest some at-home alternatives (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to sort of run out on its own). But they may also clean out your ear during your visit.

We can eliminate the wax safely with specialty tools and training.

In general, you should stay away from techniques like using cotton swabs and earwax candling. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good strategy to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

Give your ears some relief

If accumulated 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 eliminating any stubborn earwax.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.