How Is Ear Candling Done
Ear candles are hollow tubes that are approximately 10 inches long. They are made of cotton or linen that has been wound tightly into a cone shape, soaked in beeswax, paraffin, or soy wax, and allowed to harden.
During an ear candling session, you lie down on one side with the ear to be treated facing up. The pointed end of the ear candle is usually inserted into a hole in a paper or foil plate and then into the external ear canal.
The candle is lit at the opposite end and held as the practitioner trims away the burnt material while the candle is burning.
After several minutes , the treatment ends and the ear candle stub is removed and extinguished. The outer ear is wiped clean with a cotton ball or pad.
Conventional Removal Of Earwax
The conventional removal of earwax in medicine is done through an apparatus which creates a vacuum with which a doctor can remove excess earwax through suction. If the patient has a skin problem or the earwax is too sticky, an oil can be used to solubilise it so that excess earwax can be wiped off without inserting any object into the ear canal such as a cotton swab, which can damage the ear.
Can Ear Wax Be Removed With Ear Candles
Earwax removal with a candle is particularly used in spa.Â;Through the tubular opening, the descending heat leads to a negative pressure in the ear.Â;This is intended to pull the wax up through the filter and thereby clean the earsÂ;.Â;In fact, the resulting negative pressure in the ear is so low that it is not enough for the wax to be drawn into the funnel.Â;So the ear is not cleaned by an ear candle alone, but it can help to relax and prepare the ear for further cleaning.
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History & Interesting Facts
Many claim that ear candling is an ancient health practice. While it does seem clear that various cultures have practiced candling for some time, the timeline and origins of this process are uncertain.
It seems that coning was practiced in China, some parts of the Americas and Tibet. While youll find some claims about the Hopi Indian tribe, their Tribal Council has publicly stated that their people do not and have never practiced ear candling.
Like many old natural medicine practices, ear candling resurged in popularity in modern culture in the 1980s. Because of their inability to stand up to scientific scrutiny, ear candling kits;are not permitted to be marketed for health conditions in the US or Canada. They;can only be legally marketed for recreational purposes only. The FDA conducted large seizures in 1993 and in California in 1998 for creating these misleading claims.
They took a stronger stance in 2010, openly warning consumers to avoid these items and writing warning letters to at least three large ear candle manufacturing firms. Still, there are various companies marketing at-home candling kits and offering in-office ear candling services.
What The Evidence Says
In a nutshell, when you open the cone, what you see appears to be wax and debris that the vacuum of the ear candle sucked from your ear. However, researchers have found that this is simply the melted wax of the candle itself, discolored by its smoke.As far as effectiveness in removing ear wax, even The Coning/Candling Company admits that your ear wax will replenish itself usually within 24 hours 2.
- In a nutshell, when you open the cone, what you see appears to be wax and debris that the vacuum of the ear candle sucked from your ear.
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Why Doesnt Ear Candling Work
There are a few problems with this practice, like the fact that the physics simply dont work. Theres simply no way for a candle to produce that type of pressure differential . Second, creating that type of pressure difference would require some kind of seal, which doesnt happen during candling.
Now, there are supposedly special candles used in this treatment. When youre finished with your fifteen minutes of ear candling, you can break apart the candle and, in the middle, see all bacteria, debris, and wax that was in your ear. The only problem is that the same debris shows up in both burned and unburned candles. So the whole process amounts to fraud.
Scientific research has never been able to prove any benefit regarding earwax candling.
Our First Ear Candling Experience
We set up a small station, watched the YouTube instructional video to make sure we didnt burn the house down, and got out the camera.
Yay! Im going to hear better after this, right?
After getting over the fear that my candle was going to burn too quickly and catch my hair on fire if Matt took his eyes off me, I was able to relax. The candle created a warm feeling in my ear. The slight crackle almost sounded like a cozy fireplace. I almost dozed off. With a small torch burning over my head.
We had a nice relaxing Saturday afternoon as we lit small fires on our couch, just above our very flammable hair, and awaited the promised results.
We couldnt WAIT to cut open the remaining portion of the burned candles. We hovered over the hollow candle as it was exposed a powdery, yellowish, laced-with-dark-clumps-of-something, waxy inner residue. We sounded like 3rd graders as we admired the atrocious gunk that had appeared. We werent so easily convinced though. It was almost too much. Matt said he wanted to do an experiment during which he would burn a candle outside of his ear to see if this same residue accumulated. Unfortunately, we had used up all of our candles.
You should have heard our deep discussion afterward, acting all science-y, like we knew exactly how the candles worked.
I suppose Im not surprised the candle drew so much out of my ear. The Eustachian;tube is long and curving, like our intestines, so there was obviously just a lot of wax buildup in there.
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How To Get Rid Of Earwax Buildup
If you’re suffering from an earwax buildup, ear candles might seem like a cheap, easy solution. However, they can just leave you with more problems than you started with. It’s better to skip the home remedies and go straight to a professional. ENT doctors are trained to remove earwax blockages in a safe, comfortable manner, and this is far safer than buying ear candles or letting a spa worker mess with your ears.
It’s important to remember that you only have one set of ears. If they’re damaged, this damage is permanent. Sticking foreign objects like candles, q-tips, and tweezers inside your ears to dislodge blockages is not only ineffective, it’s dangerous. Don’t run the risk of hearing loss; go to a professional and get your blockage taken care of.
If you’re interested in more articles on ear health, hearing loss, and hearing health, Signia Hearing can give you the resources you need to learn more. We have an archive full of information, and we put out more articles every week.
Natural Ear Wax Removal
There are a number of traditional remedies for earwax removal that are still used today. Some people rely on natural ear drops and supplements that contain herbal ingredients believed to address earwax build-up. Another alternative remedy for earwax build-up is ear candling. This remedy involves placing a beeswax candle in the ear canal and lighting the end. Proponents of ear candling believe that the warmth from the candle softens wax and draws it out of the ear canal. There is not enough evidence to prove that ear candling or any natural product is an effective earwax removal solution that will work for everyone.
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How To Use Ear Candles
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 627,123 times.
Ear Candles: Effective Or Dangerous
Earwax is a sticky, unpleasant, but vital substance in our ears. It helps to trap debris and protects your ear canal from growing bacteria. But if you dont regularly clean your ears, or if your ears contain just a lot of wax, it may build up and block your ear canal. Naturally, you want to clean the wax from your mouth. But there are correct ways to do that, and some not so accurate.
A technique called ear candling is used by some to try to get rid of the wax. We need to be clear that this is not a safe practice. We will explain in more detail in this article.
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What Is Earwax Candling
So the basic setup goes like this: Perhaps youre not certain how to eradicate all your built up earwax. Youve read that its risky to use cotton swabs to clean your earwax out. So, after doing some investigate, you find a technique known as earwax candling.
Heres how earwax candling allegedly works: By jamming a candle into your ear , you cause a pressure differential. This pressure differential then sucks the wax out. Any wax that might be clogged up in your ear can, in theory, be pulled out by this amount of pressure. But this dangerous technique is not a smart method of cleaning your ears.
Ear Wax Remedies With A Paper Cone
While ear candling has deep historical roots, evidence suggests that it is not a safe or effective practice for removing excessive ear wax 1. The practice involves placing a cone-shaped candle inside your ear, tilting your head to one side, and lighting the other end of the candle. Ideally you have a plate attached to the candle above the ear to protect your head from hot wax as the candle burns.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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What Is Ear Candling
Also known as ear coning, this technique involves placing a hollow candle soaked in beeswax or paraffin inside the ear. The far end of the candle is lit and the heat allegedly produces suction that is supposed to draw out the ear wax, debris and bacteria from inside the ear canal. At the end of ear candling, whats left are the candle stub and a dark substance thought to be ear wax. Medically known as cerumen, ear wax is a naturally occurring substance that serves to clean, protect and lubricate the ear canal. Its produced by the outer two-thirds of the ear canal.
The seemingly miraculous claims from ear candling go beyond hygiene. Supporters tout a list of claims that range from treating clogged ears, ear aches, ringing in the ears, sinus infections and allergies, to reversing hearing loss and sharpening the senses.
What Is Ear Wax
Earwax may be a pain when it builds up in your ear, but it plays an important role in ear health. The waxy substance lines your ear canal and acts as a barrier to debris and germs that can cause injuries or infections. Because of its importance to the ear canal, earwax typically should not be removed unless it builds up to a point where it causes fullness, pain or hearing problems.
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Ear Candles: Do They Work
Ear cleaning candles, also called cones, are sometimes used to remove earwax plugs. Ear cleaning cones arise from the rediscovery of a traditional method of ancient origin for ear hygiene and allow you to remove impurities and excess wax present in the ear canal using the so-called chimney effect. Today, however, their use appears to be of dubious effectiveness. Let’s analyze why.
What Do Experts Say About Ear Candling
Dr. Zhao notes that researchers have performed studies on the process and effects of ear candling and the results have shown that ear candles dont produce any negative pressure, meaning there is no suction.
Researchers have also analyzed the brown residue or debris at the end of the candle and it doesnt have any components of normal ear wax, but rather anticlimactically, its just the burnt beeswax from the candle, she said.
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Supplies For Ear Candling
What you need to know about the ear candling supplies is they are inexpensive and can be found on online stores and local health food stores. Since the Food and Drug Administration , whose members all have conflicts of interest with drug companies have banned claims that ear candling can help earaches, sinus headaches, and allergies, let me say this: I dont make and sell ear candles. I dont have a book on how to do ear candling to sell you.
However, Ive had LOTS of really amazing experiences helping friends adopt this practice, and its another way to avoid antibiotics and their terrible side effects. Im a very experienced ear candler, and I want to share with you my thoughts on the practice of how to do ear candling and how to do it safely and effectively.
So if youd like to try it, watch the tutorial video and grab my instruction sheet. There is fire involved, so when you click to get the instruction sheet, well also send you my short tutorial video to watch , to make sure youll learn the safe way on how to do ear candling.
So We Know Ear Candling Doesnt Work But Dangerous Is It
Whats the danger in trying, right? Well, whenever you get hot candle wax around your ears, youre asking for trouble. You may be fine if you try earwax candling. People do it all of the time. But that doesnt mean there arent hazards involved, and it definitely doesnt imply that ear candling is safe.
Here are some negative impacts of ear candling:
- You might cause serious injury when you play around with an open flame and potentially even put your life in danger. You wouldnt want to burn your house down, would you? Eliminating a bit of earwax isnt worth that amount of danger and risk.
- Once the wax cools down it can block your ear canal. You could end up temporarily losing your hearing or even requiring surgery in severe cases.
- Your ear can be severely burned. When melted candle wax goes into your ear, it can lead to serious hearing issues and burns. In the most serious cases, this might permanently damage your hearing.
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Should You Try Ear Candling
There is no evidence supporting the effectiveness of;ear candling, and it can cause burns and damage to the ears and skin.
According to the;American Academy of Otolaryngology;guidelines,;based on the evidence, “Clinicians should recommend against;ear candling;for treating or preventing cerumen impaction.”
Earwax has a protective role. It cleans and lubricates the ear, and can protect the ear canal from bacteria and fungus. The ear has a self-cleaning system that naturally removes earwax. Most people do not require additional cleaning, however, a breakdown in this self-cleaning system can cause a condition known as cerumen impaction.
If you develop an earwax blockage or are experiencing symptoms , you should speak to your doctor to assess your symptoms and discuss ways to safely remove the earwax.
Bad News Though It Probably Doesn’t Actually Work
I assumed that by the look of how much gunk was in the unraveled part of the candle that the process worked. I could also hear a little better and my sinuses felt more clear. Although, that might have been all in my head. It’s been proven that ear candling doesn’t work and it’s totally denounced by doctors.
Ear candling is risky because the wax might melt and drip down onto the eardrum even if the candle has a safety filter at the bottom. Studies prove that the bit of powdery, orange crust that I thought was earwax is actually candle wax. It’s a byproduct of the candle melting into itself.
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Ear Wax Candle Making At Home Kit
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Ear Wax Removal Candle Ear Candling
- For removing excess ear wax
- For people who are exposed to dust and water
- Made of eco-friendly organic materials
- Very easy to do but with extra care
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Why You Shouldnt Use Ear Candling For Clogged Ears
Although earwax is not a pleasant subject, the yellowish, waxy substance actually serves a purpose. It protects the delicate lining of the ear canal, helps to keep the canal clean and lubricated, and even provides some protection against bacteria and other harmful organisms. Unfortunately, earwax can build up within the ear canal and press against the eardrum or other structures of the ear, which can cause discomfort, mild dizziness, ringing in the ears, and other symptoms. When faced with this problem, many people look to over-the-counter remedies, such as earwax removal candles, to try to alleviate the problem. Our FastMed Urgent Care medical professionals decided to take a closer look at ear candling and answer these commonly asked questions:
- What is the candle wax ear treatment?
- Ear candlingdoes it work?
- Is ear candling safe?
- What is the best way to remove earwax?
What Is the Candle Wax Ear Treatment?
Ear CandlingDoes it Work?
At this time, there is no scientific evidence to support that ear candling wax results in any earwax being removed from the ear canal. Proponents of ear candles argue that all of the various passages within the ear and head are connected and that using the candles essentially cleans out the head. This is simply not anatomically correct, since there are solid barriers, such as the eardrums, within the passages.
Is Ear Candling Safe?
What Is the Best Way to Remove Earwax?
Alternatives To Remove Ear Wax Safely
1. Take a shower
Your first option is the simplest just stand in a shower with water around body temperature and let water rinse through your ear. Feel free to stand there until you feel the clearing of your ear. Then make sure to turn your ear toward the ground to drain the excess water.
2. Soften wax with oil, peroxide or sodium bicarbonate
If a water-only rinse doesnt seem to help, there is evidence that using safe items to soften ear wax before rinsing your ears again can help to remove excess wax buildup.
Some of the best options are mineral oil, olive oil, hydrogen peroxide and sodium bicarbonate .
When using these items, you can drop about 23 drops into your affected ear. Then wait at least 1015 minutes before showering to allow the softener to work. You shouldnt have to perform this method more than once a month.
Please note: Do NOT use baby oil or essential oils in your ear unless expressly directed by your physician. These can be dangerous to the sensitive parts;of the ear canal. You also should NEVER try this method if you have had ear surgery or have a hole in your eardrum.
3. Moisturize your outer ear
One reason you may experience too much ear wax is from having a dry outer ear. When dry skin flakes into your ear, it can harden the wax and interrupt the bodys normal process. You can moisturize the outside of your ears with mineral oil each day or as necessary.
4. Try an alcohol and vinegar mixture
5. Increase your omega-3 intake
6. Seek medical attention
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You Can Keep Your Ears Clean Without Needing A Candle
Most people will never truly have to worry about cleaning earwax out of their ears. Thats because your ears are actually pretty good at cleaning themselves! However, there are a few people who will have unusually heavy earwax production or accumulation to contend with.
If you do need to clean your ears out because of excessive wax, there are scientifically-proven means to do that safely. You could use a fluid wash, for example. Or you could see a specialist who will be able to use specialized tools to get extra wax or wax blockages out.
Cotton swabs are definitely a no-no. And open flames are not ok either. Earwax candling doesnt work, and it can create dangers that will put your comfort and your hearing in significant jeopardy. Try burning candles for their sent or for enjoyment but not as a means to clean your ears.
Is Ear Candling Safe
Again, no. Several studies show that it can lead to serious injuries.
Ear candling can:
- Burn your ear canal, eardrum, face, hair, or scalp
- Leave deposits of candle wax in your ear canal
- Lead to holes in your eardrum
- Push wax deeper into your ear, which can lead to a buildup of wax that requires medical treatment
No study has ever shown that ear candling has any health benefits. That, along with the risk of injury, is why doctors dont recommend it.
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Studies On Ear Candling
In WebMD articles, or Quackwatch, or SkepticalInsider, they make fun of the ignorance of ear candles as a practice to remove ear wax or get trapped fluids moving. But until I discovered ear candles, because I have small ear/nose/throat passageways, I repeatedly had wax-buildup-related hearing problems.
In college and beyond, do you know what doctors did for my problem?
They put stool softener in my ear and then, they Water-Piked my ear, sometimes for up to 20 minutes at a time. It was dreadfully painful. Ill take the risks of ear candling any day over that tortuous procedure that probably had a serious risk of rupturing my eardrum!
You read that right. They, the MDs, nurses, and physicians assistants, attacked my eardrum with a high-pressure water hose sold for cleaning teeth! This didnt just happen at one clinic, but multiple clinics the student health center when I was a student, and then a private clinic years later.
The last time I had it done, I didnt have an ear infection when I went in, just hearing loss. But I had vertigo and lots of pain for two weeks after the treatment. In one episode, they never got anything out of my ear, and my hearing was not restored.
The WebMD article also cites evidence of people having melted wax from the ear candles burns their eardrum. In my many times using ear candles, this has never happened.
Learn how to do ear candling by watching our ear candling treatment tutorial from our Youtube channel: