The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage these days and everybody likes a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the right plumbing tutorial, go get the recommended tools, and go to work! A plumber would probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.

But that feeling only lasts until your sink starts leaking again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.

Sometimes, that’s difficult to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep coming back to. It sounds… kind of gross, right? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.

Ear candling – what is it?

Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other situations, it may happen because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It kind of stinks!

As a result, some people believe they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put in your ear (non-burning end). Individuals believe that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the blend of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.

It should be immediately mentioned that ear candling is not encouraged by healthcare professionals. If you’re looking for proof that ear candling really works and draws out wax, you won’t find any. Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advise against ever utilizing this practice. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also strongly advocates against this practice.

The negative aspects of ear candling

Initially, ear candling might seem perfectly safe. It’s not like it’s a giant flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are plenty of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be quite dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What are the side effects of ear candling? Ear candling can affect your health in the following negative and possibly painful ways:

  • You can cause severe burns to your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. Your ear is very sensitive and significant burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
  • You could severely burn your face: Look, whenever you’re holding candles that close to your face, there’s a good possibility you’ll burn yourself. Accidents will happen! It’s all too easy for candle wax to drip into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to get severely burned.
  • Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: Even if you don’t get burned, residual ear candle wax can go into your ears. This leftover wax can cause acute discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
  • You can push that earwax even further up into your ear: Putting an ear candle into your ear can actually force earwax further into the ear canal much like when you use a cotton swab. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the result.
  • Your Eardrum might accidentally get punctured: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! Your hearing will suffer significant harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. If this takes place it’s very likely that you will need to get professional assistance.

So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t simply useless, it’s downright dangerous.

So how should you eliminate earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. Issues begin when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?

Talk to a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax obstruction. They might advise some at-home alternatives (such as using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of run out on its own). But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.

Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clean out wax without damaging your ear.

In general, you should stay away from techniques like using cotton swabs and earwax candling. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good plan to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

How to help your ears feel better

If excess earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away any stubborn earwax.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.