The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

DIY is all the rage nowadays and everyone appreciates a quick easy fix. Got a leaky sink? You can learn 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.

But that feeling only continues until your sink begins leaking again. Because, as it turns out, in some cases a DIY fix is no replacement for the well-honed skills of a professional.

It’s not always easy to acknowledge that this is the case. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep coming back to. It sounds… kind of gross, doesn’t it? So, exactly 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?

Have you ever had a stuffy-ear kind of feeling? Occasionally, it happens when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other cases, it might occur because you have too much earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have any number of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. You may even notice a temporary loss of hearing. It’s no fun!

Because of this, some people think they have found 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 in your ear. Somehow, the mix of heat and the hollow design of the candle changes the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.

Healthcare professionals definitely don’t recommend this technique. If you’re looking for proof that ear candling really works and draws out wax, you won’t uncover any. Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will strongly advocate against ever using this approach. (Does ear candling help with sinus pressure? Also no.)

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

The negative aspects of ear candling

At first, ear candling might feel completely safe. It’s not like it’s a giant flame. And you’re utilizing “specialized” equipment. And individuals on the internet claimed it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be harmful?

Ear candling can, regrettably, be really dangerous and there’s no way of getting around that! What are the negative effects of ear candling? Here are just some of the (possibly painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • Your ear can have surplus candle wax drip in there: Even if you don’t get burned, surplus ear candle wax can go into your ears. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
  • You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are very hot. 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).
  • The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Putting an ear candle into your ear can actually push earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! This can trigger all sorts of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • You could seriously burn your face: Look, whenever you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a good possibility you’ll burn yourself. Everybody has accidents now and then. Serious burns on the face are not the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • You might accidentally puncture your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You may accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating substantial discomfort and harm to your hearing. Often, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.

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

A better way to handle earwax

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s too much earwax (or it isn’t draining well) that you start to have problems. So what should you do if utilizing a candle is a bad plan?

Consult a hearing specialist if you have a stubborn earwax obstruction. They might suggest some at-home alternatives (such as using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to kind of run out on its own). But they may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

We can remove the wax safely with specialty tools and training.

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

Give your ears some relief

If surplus earwax is causing you a little discomfort or misery, you should schedule an appointment with us. We will be capable of helping 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.