Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

The Truth About Ear Candling

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Hearing Loss Articles

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage nowadays and everyone likes a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn about how to fix that from a YouTube video. It might take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no replacement for the gratification you feel, right?

But that feeling only continues until your sink starts to leak again. That’s because in some cases the skill and experience of a professional can’t be successfully substituted for a quick fix.

It isn’t always easy to acknowledge that this is the situation. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep coming back to. It doesn’t really sound that appealing, does it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s dig into that.

Ear candling – what is it?

Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear from time to time. Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. An excessive amount of earwax can also cause this feeling and that can occur for a variety of reasons. When this takes place, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. Your hearing might even temporarily go. It’s no fun!

Some individuals, as a result, think that ear candling is just the inexpensive and novel solution they need. The concept is that a special hollow candle is placed into your ear (non-burning end). People believe that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the blend of heat and pressure changes in your ear.

It should be immediately 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 supposed to work). In other words, most hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly recommend against ever utilizing this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

The FDA also strongly advises against this practice.

What are the drawbacks of ear candling?

At first, ear candling might feel completely safe. It’s a really small flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are plenty of people online who claim that it’s completely safe. So, how can ear candling be dangerous?

Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely dangerous. What negative affects can ear candling have? Here are just a few of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • You could accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! You may accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating significant discomfort and damage to your hearing. If this takes place it’s very likely that you will need to get professional help.
  • You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can go into your ears. Your hearing can become impacted from this, not to mention the uncomfortableness.
  • The earwax can be crammed 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 blockage, so too can inserting a specialized candle in 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 seriously burned: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are quite hot. If the tip of the candle or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive spot).
  • Your face could be severely burned: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you could burn your face. Accidents will happen! 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 get severely burned.

So, is ear candling endorsed by hearing healthcare professionals? No… not even a little bit! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually really dangerous!

So how should you clear away earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. 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 start to have issues. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?

If you have an earwax blockage, the most beneficial thing to do might be talking to a hearing specialist. They may recommend some at-home remedies (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to kind of run out on its own). But in some circumstances, they will do a cleaning for you.

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

Generally, you should avoid techniques such as utilizing cotton swabs and earwax candling. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or doctor.

How to help your ears feel better

If surplus earwax is causing you a little discomfort or distress, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be able to help you clear 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.

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