Everybody loves an easy fix, particularly when the solution is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the right plumbing tutorial, buy the recommended tools, and go to work! 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 lasts until your sink begins to leak again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed 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 complex problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that appealing, does it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s dig into that.
What is ear candling?
Everybody has had the feeling of a plugged ear now and then. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. In other situations, it may happen 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 some discomfort. You might even notice a temporary loss of hearing. It sort of stinks!
Some people, because of this, believe that ear candling is just the cheap and novel solution they need. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put in your ear (non-burning end). Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals definitely don’t suggest this technique. If you’re looking for evidence that ear candling actually works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend against ever using this approach. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.
The FDA also strongly advises against this practice.
The drawbacks of ear candling
Ear candling may feel safe, initially. It’s a really small flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And people on the internet said it was safe! So, how could ear candling be harmful?
Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be downright hazardous. What are the negative effects of ear candling? Ear candling can impact your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
- You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing significant discomfort and damage to your hearing. Often, this is something that has to be addressed by a hearing professional.
- Your ear can be severely burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are really hot. If the candle tips or the wax gets where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some considerable burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you might burn your face. Everybody has accidents once in a while. Serious burns on the face are not the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
- You can jam that earwax even further up into your ear: Putting an ear candle into your ear can actually push earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can lead to all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only ineffective, it’s downright dangerous.
A better way to Tackle earwax
Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you begin to have difficulty. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?
If you have an earwax obstruction, the most beneficial thing to do might be speaking with a hearing specialist. Usually, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, like a saline wash, to loosen the wax allowing it to drip out on its own. But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that let them clear away wax without injuring your ear.
Generally, you should stay away from techniques like utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. Nothing smaller than your finger should go into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or doctor.
How to help your ears feel better
If accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should make an appointment with us. We will be capable of helping you clean any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.