Ear Blockage and Ear Candles: Do’s and Don’t

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

Ear Blockage and Ear Candles: Various Methods

Ear wax is a common issue for many people, and there are various methods for removing it. In this blog, we will discuss the dangers of ear candling and explore safer alternatives for ear wax removal, despite regulatory agencies deeming ear candling unsafe due to the risks of severe injuries and complications associated with the practice.

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. To use ear candles, individuals typically light one end of the candle and insert the other tapered end into the ear canal, where it remains in place for fifteen minutes.

Ear Blockage and Ear Candles: Claims and Myths

It’s important to be aware that some marketers of ear candles make claims about their ability to draw out impurities from the ear using the warmth of the candle’s flame. However, it’s worth noting that there is no scientific research supporting these claims. In fact, what often comes out of the ear after using ear candles is not actual ear wax but rather residue from the candle itself, known as ear candle wax. Furthermore, consulting with a healthcare professional before attempting any type of earwax removal method is important.

Dangers of Ear Candling

Beauticians, alternative therapists, or individuals using kits at home can perform ear candling on themselves or their family members. As a result, the increased risk of injuries and complications from ear candles can particularly endanger small children and babies.

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
  • Serious complications can arise from perforation or puncture of the eardrum due to molten wax.As a result, it is advisable to avoid using methods involving heat to remove ear wax, such as ear candling. Additionally, seeking professional help from a healthcare provider is recommended for ear wax removal.
  • 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 specialised 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