cover image for safety for ear candling

What is ear candling?

Ear candling is a medical technique that is generally used to remove excess wax from the ear. This is performed with the help of ear candles which are cones made of a mixture of paraffin and beeswax. 

The following step-by-step guide can help you get an idea of performing an ear candling. 

  • The person starts by lying on one side and cover the face, neck, or hair with a paper, tin foil or plastic to protect hot wax from dripping
  • One end of the candle is placed in the ear. The other end is then lit
  • The candle is trimmed as it starts burning
  • The whole procedure takes approximately 15 minutes
  • The flame is then blown out carefullyDo You Know?: What does Ear Wax Indicate for Your Health?

How ear candling works?

People who practice ear candling believe that the wax is cleaned by creating a low-level vacuum inside the ear. This vacuum draws the earwax and impurities out of the ear which gets collected in the hollow candles. 

People who practice ear candling often contradict with those who don’t. Proponents say that the substance is a mix of earwax and debris. While the critics believe that the materials are nothing but than the residues of the candles. 

What are the benefits of ear candling?

There is no sufficient evidence that can prove how beneficial the procedure is. In spite of a lack of sufficient scientific backing, proponents of ear candling advocate the following benefits-

How safe are earbuds?

Can you believe that earbuds can damage the eardrum in a similar way as ear candling can? But hearing loss due to earbuds develops gradually over time. There can be ringing, buzzing or roaring in the ear as well as distortion of sounds. If you put the cotton swab deep inside the ear, it can irritate the ear canal and can actually push the earwax further inside the ear.

To know more about how to clean the ears without any injury, read this blog

What are the risks and side effects of ear candling?

No matter what proponents of ear candling believe in, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) disapproves of ear candling. The authoritative organization said that using lit candles is extremely dangerous and possesses “a high risk of causing potentially severe skin or hair burns and middle ear damage” even after following the manufacturer’s directions. 

The following potential risks are involved in ear candling-

  • Burning of the ear, skin, and hair from hot wax
  • The ear canal getting blocked or obstructed due to wax dripping into the ear
  • The wax getting deposited in the ear
  • Bursting of the eardrum
  • Loss of hearing
  • Otitis externa

Out of the above-mentioned risks, the most common risk is burning of the skin either from the flame or from the hot wax.
There have been reported instances of loss of hearing due to eardrum perforation and deposits of ear wax inside the canal.
Moreover, the risk of injuries and complications of ear candling is more in children and babies as they have softer skin.

The biggest risk factor of ear candling that the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration claims is that the whole procedure can start a fire which can be disastrous. 

Final words

We all have a habit of over-cleaning the ears. But many of us fail to understand or are unknown to the fact that earwax is actually an essential part of the ear. It serves several purposes such as protection from external elements and lubrication in the ear. 

The ear is a self-cleaning organ that drains ear wax naturally. When there is an overproduction of earwax then visiting an E.N.T doctor becomes significant. Looking for an E.N.T doctor? Talk to us today.

Also Read: Ear drainage and its fix!

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