DIY is all the rage these days and everybody appreciates a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. It may take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no substitute for the gratification you feel, right?
But that feeling only continues until your sink starts to leak again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. And, to some extent, that’s why individuals will often 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 sounds… sort of gross, right? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everybody 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 cases, it may occur because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have a variety of causes). When this occurs, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. You may even experience a temporary loss of hearing. It kind of stinks!
Some people, because of this, believe that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel fix they need. The idea is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow style of the candle changes the air pressure within your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t encourage this approach. Do ear candles actually pull wax out? No. There’s positively no proof that ear candling is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Nearly every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against utilizing this technique ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)
The negative aspects of ear candling
At first, ear candling may feel perfectly safe. It’s just a tiny flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet said it was safe! So, how can ear candling be dangerous?
Sadly, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be downright dangerous. What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: Even if you don’t get burned, residual ear candle wax can go into your ears. This Leftover wax can cause serious discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
- The earwax can be crammed even further into your ear: In much the same way that pushing a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can pushing a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can result in all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to severe infections.
- You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. Your ear is extremely sensitive and considerable burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
- You may accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing considerable discomfort and harm to your hearing. Frequently, this is something that needs to be addressed by a hearing professional.
- You could seriously burn your face: There’s always a fairly good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Everyone has accidents once in a while. Severe burns on the face are not the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just useless, it’s utterly dangerous.
A better way to manage earwax
Ear wax is usually pretty healthy. 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… if you can’t use a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?
Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. They may recommend some at-home alternatives (such as 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.
We can get rid of the wax safely with specialized tools and training.
It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. 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
Schedule a consultation with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We will be capable of helping you remove any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.