Everybody loves a quick fix, particularly when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would most likely be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.
At least, until your sink begins leaking again. That’s because sometimes the skill and experience of a professional can’t be successfully substituted for a quick fix.
Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that pleasing, does it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear now and then. On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. An excessive amount of earwax can also cause this feeling and that can happen for a variety of reasons. This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It’s no fun!
Some individuals, as a result, believe that ear candling is just the cheap and novel fix they need. The concept is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow design of the candle changes the air pressure within your ear canal, pulling the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t encourage this approach. If you’re looking for proof that ear candling actually works and pulls out wax, you won’t uncover any. Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly recommend against utilizing this practice ever. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also firmly advocates against this practice.
What are the drawbacks of ear candling?
Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s just a tiny flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And individuals on the internet claimed it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Ear candling can, regrettably, be really dangerous and there’s no way to get around that! What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You can jam that earwax even further 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. 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.
- 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 significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. This Leftover wax can cause acute discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
- Your Eardrum could 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. Frequently, this is something that has to be treated by a hearing professional.
- Your face could be severely burned: There’s always a fairly good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! Severe burns on the face aren’t the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or drip hot wax into your eye.
So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? No… not even a little! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually really dangerous!
A better way to handle earwax
Ear wax is typically rather healthy. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you begin to have issues. So what should you do if making use of a candle is a bad plan?
Consult a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax blockage. Usually, they will suggest that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out on its own. But in some instances, they will perform a cleaning for you.
We can remove the wax safely with specialized tools and training.
It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good policy 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 distress, you should make an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by removing any stubborn earwax.