Everyone loves a quick fix, especially when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. A plumber would most likely be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.
At least, until your sink begins to leak again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.
It isn’t always easy to acknowledge that this is the situation. And, in part, that’s why people will often continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which might help explain the popularity of something known as ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound that appealing, 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 stuffy ear now and then. In some cases, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. Too much earwax can also cause this feeling and that can occur for a number of reasons. When this happens, you may experience some discomfort. You may even experience a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It sort of stinks!
Because of this, some people believe they have encountered what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow style of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.
Healthcare professionals definitely don’t recommend this technique. If you’re looking for evidence that ear candling actually works and draws out wax, you won’t find any. Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will emphatically advocate against using this technique ever. Ear candling also doesn’t help with sinus pressure.
The FDA also firmly advises against this approach.
The drawbacks of ear candling
Initially, ear candling might seem completely safe. It’s a really small flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are lots of people online who maintain that it’s perfectly safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?
Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be downright hazardous. What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
- You may accidentally pierce your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with inserting anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer significant harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Frequently, this is something that has to be addressed by a hearing professional.
- The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: In much the same way that pushing a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense blockage, so too can sticking a specialized candle into your ear. Your earwax problem can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can result in all sorts of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
- You can severely burn your ear: Fire is hot, and so is melting candle wax. If the candle tips or the wax gets where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some substantial burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
- You could severely burn your face: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up near your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! 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.
So, is ear candling approved by hearing healthcare professionals? Not at all! Not only is ear candling not practical, it’s actually very dangerous!
A better way to Tackle earwax
Ear wax is generally pretty healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining properly) that you begin to have difficulty. So what should you do if using a candle is a bad idea?
If you have an earwax blockage, the most beneficial thing to do might be speaking with a hearing specialist. They may recommend some at-home solutions (like using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of run out by itself). But in some instances, they will perform a cleaning for you.
Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that allow them to remove wax without harming 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
If surplus earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or distress, you should make an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.