How to remove ear wax using a candle
Ear candling is typically a 15-minute process, per ear. You stick one end of the candle in the outer ear (strike one) and light it from the other end (strike two), and let that baby burn. According to folklore, the burning of the candle creates a small suction force, whilst the heat melts down the wax for it to be sucked out the ear. You let the candle burn down to around 4” and you stop the process. That’s the last we’ll speak about how to remove ear wax using a candle.
The candle itself is hollow, and most commonly made of beeswax and covered in paraffin wax to allow the burning to occur. You take the candle out of the ear and then extinguish the flame. Heavens forbid you try to blow the candle out whilst it’s still in the ear, as hazardous ash could be blown onto the patient.
You can then unravel the remainder of the candle to see what’s left inside. There seems to be a fascination for earwax, so I’m guessing most people do this. They want to see what yucky, gooey substance was extracted. It is kind of cool, I must admit, in theory, that is.
So, is it all just one big fat lie?
ABSOLUTELY. There is no scientific grounding that ear candling has ever worked. It will not remove earwax, and actually, it’s quite a dangerous process. So if things go wrong, which they often have, you could wind up in the hospital, possibly needing surgery.
So I guess I could round up the article here folks. You have the information you came for: ear candling is bad, gotcha. But I want to give you a little more. I’ll emphasize the dangers to your health, an experiment conducted by a well-respected YouTuber, and alternative solutions for your earwax problems. Which are scientifically backed, used by physicians and ENT (ears, nose, and throat) specialists. Let’s dive in.
Ear candling is not something I would promote at my spa. My fictitious spa, that is. I’d want my money back if I were you! But this is where they would be quite commonly advertised. The process was previously deemed as therapeutic, but let’s think about this for a second. If ear candling does what it says on the tin, it should ‘suck’ the wax out. Now your earwax can either be hard or sticky, and both would require an appreciable amount of sucking force to get the wax out.
So much so that it would probably rupture your eardrum, if ear candling did what it claims. It wouldn’t be a relaxing process, that’s for sure. Hence it would be impossible for you to just sit back and chill while earwax is effectively vacuum-sucked from the year.
The truth has led to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) banning the import of ear candles into the USA. In addition, Canada has done the same.
Ear candling test – how to remove ear wax using a candle
Dr. Cliff Olson conducted a great video demonstration to show the falsity of ear candling. It’s an interesting video and one I recommend you check out. He’s a doctor of audiology, so he knows what he’s talking about, and posts regularly on YouTube.
The procedure – what Dr. Olson does differently to many other ‘testing’ videos, which could likely be endorsers of the product, was show a before and after picture of the ear canal. He checked the ear of the patient before candling, and after the process. What better way to determine the results of the process!
The result – the level of wax remained the same in the ear
In fact, it appeared that there were some extra deposits, perhaps of candlewax, now in the ears. He used his otoscope and showed the pictures – what more conclusive evidence do you need? It doesn’t work.
After watching Dr. Olson’s video, I could easily see why ear candling is:
- A fire hazard
- Potential to cause eye damage
- May cause burns
- Block the ears with candlewax
- Perforate the eardrum
First of all, he did a nice A/B test with two identical candles. One was lit in the patient’s ear and the other just atop a cup, simultaneously. They were extinguished them at the same time, unraveled both, and found that the candle that burned over the cup actually had more detritus in it! So that rules out earwax accumulation. You must be thinking what the heck is it? The answer – candlewax and fabric. And it’s quite deceiving because it looks like earwax. You think that by unraveling the candle, you see this clump of fake earwax and everything is back to normal. It’s had a placebo effect on you. If someone took an otoscope to your ear, they would see the wax still present, and perhaps even worse, intermixed with candle wax and soot.
In addition, way back in 1996, people were aware of the dangers. A report was published in the journal of Laryngoscope, which conducted research at 122 ear candling ‘clinics’. They found 21 serious injuries, which comprised 13 burns, 7 blockages from candlewax and 1 perforated eardrum. Personally, that’s enough evidence to keep me away from them.
Also, another potential problem is the smoke from the burning candle. This could actually be deposited inside the ear as soot. Although your ears may not receive a dollop of wax, you may not escape the buildup of a powdery substance, which if left untreated could lead to an infection.
How can I solve my earwax problem?
We have established a definite NO with ear candles. So I’ll give you the YES approach now. We have to use a method that is safe, effective, and physician-recommended.
- Try ear irrigation
- Prescription medication
Earwax medication administered from a doctor. A type of chemical drops medication that will actually dissolve the earwax, in contrast to oil-based drops that will just soften the wax. If you have a perforation, your physician may use an alternative method. They may instead use a very fine medical instrument, like a curette, to remove the earwax.
Therefore, I recommend you try ear irrigation at home first, which should solve your problems. Heck, physicians use irrigation methods often in their practices anyway. But if the home remedies aren’t working and the problem persists, you should definitely go see a doctor. They will offer a solution, which is typically an earwax softener medication, micro-suction or a curette.
So if it is ear irrigation you seek, we have our tried and tested earwax irrigation kit. You can read my irrigation article that gives you the rundown. It details who it is for, and just as important, who it isn’t for. For instance, if you have had surgery with tubes implanted in the ear, then always seek a doctor before any home remedies. They will want to tend to your earwax problems themselves.
Irrigation is effective because it is a controlled stream of water that enters the ear canal, flushing out the wax. You aren’t doing an old-fashioned suction technique with a syringe, which can be quite an unpleasant process. It’s completely different. Plus, you don’t run the risk of compacting any wax and exacerbating the problem. Many people to this day will still try to dislodge earwax with cotton buds or another appendage. Never do this because you will more than likely compact the wax even more.
Anyway, it is a completely painless process for those that are suitable; very easy to carry out and doctor-approved. Save the trip to the doctors with this safe home remedy for earwax. After all, what other treatment would you use?
Drugs.com (2018). Wax Blockage Of The Ear Canal Guide: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options. [Online] www.drugs.com. Available at: https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/wax-blockage-of-the-ear-canal.html [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].
Health Canada (2011). Ear Candling. Health Canada, pp.1-2.
Healthline (n.d.). Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Ear Candling Claims. [Online] www.healthline.com. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/cosmetic-safety/ear-candling [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].
Huizen, J. (2018). Is ear candling safe or effective?. [Online] www.medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323685.php [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].
Olson, C. (2018). Do Ear Candles Work To Remove Earwax? | Ear Candling Proof!. [Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQJt1LWH32k [Accessed 12 Feb. 2019].
WebMD (n.d.). Ear Candling: Should You Try It?. [Online] www.webmd.com. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/what-is-ear-candling#2 [Accessed 12 Feb. 2019].