Ear Wax: The Risks of Ear Candling for Ear Wax Removal

Ear wax candles! Discover the truth and learn about safe alternatives for ear wax removal. Protect your hearing today!

Ear wax is a common issue for many people, and there are various methods for removing it. Ear candling is a popular alternative medicine treatment for ear wax removal, but it has been deemed unsafe by regulatory agencies due to the risks of serious injuries and complications. In this blog, we will discuss the dangers of ear candling and explore safer alternatives for ear wax removal.

What is Ear Candling?

Ear candling is a procedure that involves using a hollow fabric cone soaked in paraffin or wax, approximately ten inches long. One end of the candle is lit, and the other tapered end is placed into the ear canal, remaining in place for fifteen minutes.

Claims of Ear Candling

Marketers of ear candles claim that the warmth of the candle’s flame produces a negative pressure that draws ear wax and other impurities out of the ear, but there is no research proving these claims. Instead, what comes out has been found to be ear candle wax, not ear wax.

Dangers of Ear Candling

Ear candling can be performed by beauticians, alternative therapists, or by people using kits at home on themselves or their family members. It can be particularly dangerous for small children and babies due to the increased risk of injuries and complications from ear candles.

The dangers of ear candling for ear wax removal include:

  • Hot wax burns to the face, ear canal, and eardrum from dripping wax
  • Ear blockages from candle wax
  • Bleeding
  • Perforation or puncture of the eardrum due to molten wax
  • Burns to middle ear structures if hot wax passes an eardrum perforation
  • Secondary ear canal infections with temporary hearing loss

The photos below show a healthy eardrum and an ear canal coated with the ear candle:

Alternatives for Ear Wax Removal

There are several clinically proven alternatives for ear wax removal, including:

  • Ear drops: These can help to soften ear wax, making it easier to remove. Ear drops should be used as directed by a healthcare professional.
  • Microsuction Ear Cleaning: This procedure involves using a small suction device and small specialized tools to remove the ear wax from the ear canal. A clinically proven water-free treatment that removes ear wax and is performed by a certified Ear Nurse.

Cindy Morris, Registered Nurse Education Coordinator