The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everyone loves an easy fix, particularly when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, go get the suggested tools, and go to work! A plumber would most likely be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.

But that feeling only lasts until your sink starts to leak again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-honed skills of a professional.

It’s not always easy to admit that this is the situation. And, in part, that’s why individuals will frequently continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that appealing, does it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a stuffy-ear sort of feeling? On occasion, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. Too much earwax can also trigger this feeling and that can occur for various reasons. When this occurs, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing might even temporarily go. It sort of stinks!

Some people, because of this, believe that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel fix they need. The concept is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the blend of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.

Healthcare professionals definitely don’t encourage this practice. Do ear candles actually pull wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically advise against ever using this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also strongly advocates against this approach.

The negative aspects of ear candling

At first, ear candling may seem completely safe. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And there are plenty of people online who maintain that it’s completely safe. So, how could ear candling be dangerous?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be really hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:

  • Your face could be seriously burned: Look, whenever you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll get a burn. Everyone has accidents now and then. Serious burns on the face aren’t the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or drip hot wax into your eye.
  • Your ear can have residual candle wax left behind: 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, affect your hearing.
  • The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Putting an ear candle inside your ear can actually push earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! This can cause all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • You could accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a risk that comes with sticking anything in your ears! You might accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating considerable discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this occurs it’s very likely that you will have to get professional assistance.
  • You can cause severe burns to your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. If the tip of the candle or the wax gets where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).

So, is ear candling recommended by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t simply ineffective, it’s utterly dangerous.

So how should you remove earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. In normal quantities, it’s good for your ears. Issues begin when there’s an overabundance of earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?

If you have an earwax obstruction, the most beneficial thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. They may recommend some at-home remedies (like using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to kind of run out on its own). But they might also clean out your ear during your visit.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clear away wax without damaging your ear.

It’s best to steer clear of things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless directed by your hearing specialist or doctor.

Give your ears some relief

Schedule an appointment with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We will be able to help you remove any stubborn earwax out of your ears and get you back to feeling normal.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.