DIY is all the rage nowadays and everybody appreciates a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the ideal plumbing tutorial, buy the suggested tools, and get to work! It might 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 starts leaking again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.
It’s not always easy to admit that this is the situation. And, in part, that’s why individuals will often continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that pleasing, does it? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s dig into that.
What is ear candling?
Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. An excessive amount of earwax can also trigger this feeling and that can happen for a variety of reasons. When this takes place, you may experience some discomfort. You might even notice a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It kind of stinks!
As a result, some people believe they have discovered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The idea is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.
It should be immediately recognized that ear candling isn’t recommended by healthcare professionals. If you’re looking for proof that ear candling really works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. Nearly every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically recommend against using this strategy ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advises against this approach.
The negative aspects of ear candling
At first, ear candling might seem completely safe. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And individuals on the internet claimed it was safe! So, how can ear candling be dangerous?
Ear candling can, unfortunately, be really 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:
- Your ear can be severely burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. Your ear is really sensitive and considerable burning can happen if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
- You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, causing substantial discomfort and harm to your hearing. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
- You can jam that earwax even further into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense blockage, so too can inserting a specialized candle in your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can cause all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to severe infections.
- You could severely burn your face: Look, any time you’re positioning 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 trickle into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to become seriously burned.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax drip in there: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? Not at all! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually really dangerous!
So how should you get rid of earwax?
Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal quantities, it’s beneficial for your ears. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining properly) that you start to have problems. So… if you can’t make use of a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?
If you have an earwax obstruction, the most beneficial thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. Normally, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to drip out by itself. But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.
Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that allow them to clean out wax without injuring your ear.
In general, 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
Schedule a consultation with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some distress. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away any stubborn earwax.