DIY is all the rage nowadays and everybody 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 feeling of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it by yourself.
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-sharpened skills of a professional.
It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. And, in part, that’s why people will frequently continue to look for “easy” DIY-fixes for complex problems, which may help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, sometimes, earwax candling). It sounds… sort of gross, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.
Ear candling – what is it?
Everybody has had the feeling of a plugged ear now and then. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re ill. Too much earwax can also trigger this feeling and that can occur for a number of reasons. This can sometimes be really uncomfortable. You may even experience a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It sort of stinks!
This means that some individuals think they have found 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 imagine that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the mix of heat and pressure changes inside your ear.
It should be quickly mentioned that ear candling isn’t advocated by healthcare professionals. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no evidence that ear candling works (especially not in the way that it’s claimed to work). Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly recommend against ever utilizing this technique. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)
The FDA also strongly advocates against this approach.
The negative aspects of ear candling
Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s not as if it’s a huge flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And there are a lot of people online who claim that it’s perfectly safe. So, how could ear candling be harmful?
Ear candling can, unfortunately, be quite hazardous and there’s no way of getting around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:
- You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can get left behind in your ears. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
- 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 could burn your face. Accidents will happen! 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.
- You can cause severe burns to your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are really hot. Your ear is extremely sensitive and substantial burning can occur if the flame or the hot wax gets somewhere it shouldn’t.
- You can push that earwax even further up into your ear: Inserting 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 result in all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to severe infections.
- You may accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with pushing anything in your ears! Your hearing will suffer significant harm and discomfort if you end up puncturing your eardrum. Frequently, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.
So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually quite dangerous!
So how should you remove earwax?
Ear wax is typically pretty healthy. In normal quantities, it’s good for your ears. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you start to have difficulty. So what should you do if using a candle is a bad strategy?
If you have an earwax obstruction, the best thing to do might be talking to a hearing specialist. They might suggest some at-home alternatives (including using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to kind of slide out by itself). But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.
We can clean out the wax safely with specialty tools and training.
It’s best to avoid 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.
Give your ears some relief
If surplus earwax is causing you a bit of discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away any stubborn earwax.