DIY is all the rage these days and everyone likes a quick easy fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.
But that feeling only lasts until your sink begins leaking again. Because, as it so happens, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.
It isn’t always easy to admit that this is the situation. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep going back to. It sounds… kind of gross, right? So, exactly what is ear candling, and how is it maybe not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.
What is ear candling?
Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? On occasion, 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 surplus earwax can have any number of causes). When this occurs, you might experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It kind of stinks!
This means that some individuals believe they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The idea is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. Individuals believe that the wax and mucus are drawn out by the combination of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.
It should be quickly noted that ear candling is not advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no evidence that ear candling is effective (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically advocate against utilizing this technique ever. Ear candling also has no effect on sinus pressure.
The FDA also strongly advises against this approach.
What are the downsides of ear candling?
Ear candling might feel safe, at first. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And individuals on the internet said it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. 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 might accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! You might accidentally puncture your eardrum, creating considerable discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this happens it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
- Your ear can have surplus candle wax left behind: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the discomfort.
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a fairly good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Everyone has accidents now and then. Serious burns on the face are not the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or drip hot wax into your eye.
- The earwax can be crammed even further into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can pack the earwax into an ever-more-dense blockage, so too can pushing a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the result.
- Your ear can be severely burned: Fire is hot, melting wax is too. Your ear is really sensitive and significant burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just ineffective, it’s downright dangerous.
So how should you get rid of earwax?
Ear wax is typically pretty healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. Issues begin when there’s an overabundance of earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t use a burning candle to remove earwax, what should you do?
Consult a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax blockage. They may advise some at-home remedies (including using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of run out by itself). But in some circumstances, they will do a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clear away wax without injuring your ear.
It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should go into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or physician.
How to help your ears feel better
If excess earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or distress, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be capable of helping you clear any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.