The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everybody loves an easy fix, especially when the solution is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. 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.

At least, until your sink starts to leak again. That’s because in some cases the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.

It isn’t always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. And, in part, that’s why individuals will frequently continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which might help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Everyone has had the feeling of a stuffy ear now and then. On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other instances, it may happen because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. You might even notice a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It kind of stinks!

As a result, some people imagine they have found what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Individuals imagine that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the combination of heat and pressure changes in your ear.

Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this practice. If you’re searching for evidence that ear candling really works and pulls out wax, you won’t find any. In other words, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically advise against ever utilizing this technique. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Essentially, don’t do it!)

What are the downsides of ear candling?

At first, ear candling might seem perfectly safe. It’s not like it’s a huge flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet said it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?

Ear candling can, regrettably, be very dangerous and there’s no way of getting around that! What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:

  • Your face could be seriously burned: There’s always a fairly good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! Serious burns on the face aren’t the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • You may accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! You may accidentally puncture your eardrum, creating substantial discomfort and damage to your hearing. Often, this is something that has to be addressed by a hearing professional.
  • Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can go into your ears. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
  • Your ear can be seriously burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. Your ear is very sensitive and considerable burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • You can push that earwax even further up into your ear: Inserting an ear candle into your ear can actually force 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! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.

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

So how should you eliminate earwax?

Ear wax is normally rather healthy. In normal quantities, it’s good for your ears. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you start to have issues. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad idea?

If you have an earwax blockage, the best thing to do may be speaking with a hearing specialist. They might recommend some at-home alternatives (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to kind of run out on its own). But in some instances, they will perform a cleaning for you.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clear away wax without harming your ear.

In general, you should stay away from techniques like utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. 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 accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or distress, 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.