In an era where people tend to look to the internet or online influencers for health advice rather than doctors and practitioners, finding accurate and trusted advice can often be challenging. With so much content written by so many different people, it is easy to be led astray by false promises of an “instant cure” or an “effective hack.”
One primary concern regarding false information in health has come in the form of ear wax removal. It seems for as long as most can remember, many people have tried to find new and innovative ways of removing ear wax. Whether it is for appearance or hearing purposes, multiple “cure-alls” can be seen from a variety of different people all over the world.
Ear Wax Candling
One major fad that has recently gained traction is ear wax candling. Ear wax candling involves placing a candle soaked in either beeswax or paraffin inside of one’s ear. The candle is usually about ten to twelve inches long and is hallow and tapered.
The candle is lit on the end outside of the ear, and the heat is supposed to provide suction that draws out ear wax, debris, bacteria, and other items from inside the person’s ear canal. Typically, people will also add a protective layer of foil or paper between the candle and the subject’s face to avoid any wax drippage that may occur.
At the end of the process, you typically have a dark substance that is excreted that is thought to be the ear wax from inside of the subject’s ear.
Does Ear Candling Work?
The main question that has arisen with regards to this process is: does it work? The simple answer to this is that it remains unproven for any potential health benefits. Even if the candle is burning at a hot enough temperature to remove the ear wax from your ear (which is unlikely), the amount of head would be hazardous to your ear.
It is never advisable to put an open flame or a heat source inside of your ear canal. Softening ear wax has no medical purpose, as the softened ear wax would more than likely just flow back into your ear canal. This would later congeal into a mass when cooled and could potentially even become more harmful.
Ear wax is a naturally occurring substance that has health benefits for your body. It serves to clean and protect the ear canal.
Some claims for ear candling even go beyond hygiene. Some proponents of this method claim that it can treat clogged ears, ear pain, tinnitus, and sinus infections. Some also claim that it can reverse the hearing loss and even sharpen the senses.
Many researchers have performed studies on the entire ear candling process, and the results have shown that ear candling provides no suction to remove ear wax. The FDA has even gone as far as to warn people against ear candling, noting that there is “no valid scientific evidence for any medical benefit from their use.”
What Can You Do?
It is highly advisable to never stick anything in your ear canal, as it often pushes the ear wax further in your ear. Additionally, the hot wax from ear candling can burn and even damage your ear and face.
There is also a chance that you may get an infection due to this method, that you may get more debris into your ear canal, or that you may perforate the eardrum.
Our ears naturally clean themselves. Ear wax naturally removes itself from your ear canal over time. Interferingnever to stick anything in your ear canal with this natural process will only cause you more bodily harm. When you chew or swallow, ear wax will naturally work its way outside of your body. Once it leaves the body, it dries up and flakes away naturally.
The easiest way to manage your earwax is to let it go through its natural process. If you believe your earwax is becoming a problem, have it inspected by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. They can clear any blockage safely and effectively.
If you want to try and take care of it at home, you can gently clean the outer ear with a damp cloth or towel. Sticking anything in your ear, such as a toothpick or Q-Tip, is advised against, as it can damage your ear.
It is important to remember that we each only have one set of ears. Doing damage to your ears through experimental treatments can often be dangerous and may result in permanent damage. If you are seeking a solution to a problem, consult a professional first.