The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everybody loves a quick fix, especially when the solution is also a DIY fix. Got a leaky sink? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy the suggested tools, and get to work! 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 on your own.

But that feeling only lasts until your sink begins leaking again. That’s because sometimes the skill and experience of a professional can’t be effectively substituted for a quick fix.

It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the situation. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that individuals keep coming back to. It sounds… kind of gross, right? Let’s dive into just what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Everybody has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. Sometimes, it takes place when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. In other instances, it might occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). When this occurs, you may experience some discomfort. You may even experience a temporary loss of hearing. It kind of stinks!

As a result, some individuals believe they have discovered what seems to be a natural and novel option: ear candling. The idea is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the blend 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 suggest this approach. Do ear candles really pull wax out? No. There’s positively no proof 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 emphatically recommend against ever utilizing this technique. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Basically, don’t do it!)

What are the drawbacks of ear candling?

At first, ear candling may seem completely safe. It’s not as if it’s a giant flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And individuals on the internet said it was safe! So, how can ear candling be harmful?

Sadly, there’s no getting around the fact that ear candling can be downright dangerous. What negative impacts can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • Your ear can be seriously burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. Your ear is very sensitive and significant burning can take place if the flame or the hot wax gets someplace it shouldn’t.
  • You could severely burn your face: Look, any time you’re holding candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everybody has accidents once in a while. It’s all too easy for candle wax to trickle into your eyes or for your hair to catch on fire or for your face to become seriously burned.
  • You might accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You may accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating considerable discomfort and harm to your hearing. Often, this is something that needs to be treated by a hearing professional.
  • 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 discomfort.
  • You can push that earwax even further into your ear: In much the same way that sticking a Q-tip in your ear can smoosh the earwax into an ever-more-dense obstruction, so too can inserting a specialized candle into your ear. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax issue worse! This can cause all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to severe infections.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? No… not even a little! Not only is ear candling not practical, it’s actually really dangerous!

So how should you clear away earwax?

Ear wax is usually rather healthy. In normal amounts, it’s beneficial for your ears. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you start to have difficulty. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad plan?

If you have an earwax obstruction, the most beneficial thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. They might suggest some at-home solutions (like using saline or mineral oil to loosen the wax, allowing it to sort of slide out by itself). But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

We can get rid of the wax safely with specialty tools and training.

In general, you should stay away from techniques such as utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. 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

Schedule an appointment with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some distress. We can help you get back to normal by clearing away any stubborn earwax.


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.