What are ear candles?
Ear candling — sometimes referred to as ear coning — is a method of ear cleaning that is administered by placing a hollow cylindrical candle in a person’s ear. The opposite end of the candle — the one note not in the ear — is then lit.
Some believe that ear candling is a tradition that dates back to the Hopi, a Native American people who once spanned the Four Corners region of the United States (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico).
Proponents of the practice claim that this causes “negative pressure” or a low level suction that is supposed to pull debris and excess earwax out of the ear canal.
Others report that the candle warms the wax, softening it so that it will eventually fall out of the ears.
Many people who have undergone an ear candling session report that the candles used will then contain the removed wax, proving that your ears are now free from wax, debris, and impurities.
Some even claim that ear candling can relieve certain symptoms related to hearing loss, ear infections, tinnitus, stress, and vertigo.
But are these claims really possible?
Does ear candling really work?
Though some people, largely from the realm of alternative medicine, claim that ear candling is an effective method for removing excess earwax from the ears, there is consensus among audiology experts that ear candling does not contribute to the removal of excess wax from the ears.
Here are our thoughts regarding some of the claims made above:
- A spokesperson for the Hopi people dispelled their association with ear candling in 2010, stating that ear candling, “has not and has never been a practice conducted by the Hopi tribe or the Hopi people.”
- Experts do not believe that ear candling causes the sort of suction need to pull wax from the canal into the outer ear
- Ear candling doesn’t heat up wax to the degree necessary in order to do what it claims, nor does it maintain a higher temperature over any extended period of time
- The debris found inside of the hollow candle is usually melted wax or debris from the candle itself vs. it being wax from a person’s ear
Furthermore, ear candling can actually lead to a person having MORE wax in their ear, should the candle melt and that wax run down the cylinder and into their ear canal.
We just cannot recommend a method of treatment that involves sticking a flaming foreign object in a person’s ear. The risk of damage or injury are just far too great, and the empirical results of efficacy are far too few.
So what should people do about their earwax?
What should someone do about their earwax?
For the most part, people don’t need to do anything at all about their earwax, despite what big cotton swab might want you to believe!
Here’s the thing: Earwax is not only a natural occurrence in our bodies, it’s a natural occurrence that serves a specific purpose.
Earwax coats the inside of our ear canals in order to catch dirt, debris, and other objects from traveling too deeply into our ears. Without this built-in safety system, debris could travel deeply into our ears, potentially causing damage to our eardrums and other parts of our hearing system.
What’s more, our ears are self-cleaning organs, meaning that things like cotton swabs, ear candles, and other tools are wholly unnecessary for the layperson to use. Simply through normal acts like speaking and chewing, our regular jaw movements will loosen wax and encourage it to fall out of our ears over time.
Despite that, we’ve long been taught by incredibly effective advertising campaigns that using objects like cotton swabs to clean our ears is an essential part of a person’s daily hygiene.
What those campaigns have neglected to tell us is that putting objects like cotton swabs into our ears will most likely push excess wax deeper into our ears, causing blockage in the ear canal, which could lead to hearing issues, headaches, ear infections, and more.
All that said, there are times in which having your ears cleaned is necessary.
When should I get my ears cleaned?
Some people’s bodies produce an excessive amount of earwax, which can increase their risk of ear blockage.
Others have used cotton swabs to “clean” their ears and have unwittingly caused obstruction in their ear canals by pushing wax deeper into their ears.
And then there are those folks who would benefit from ear cleaning due to foreign objects entering their ears, including people who might have tried ear candling!
At Colorado Ear Care, we provide professional ear cleaning services to those who are experiencing any of the above or similar conditions.
We use our expertise of the ears and hearing systems in order to provide you care that is safe, comfortable, and effective!
If you’re interested in a hearing care experience — from ear cleaning, to hearing testing and treatment, to dizziness and balance services, and more — contact Colorado Ear Care TODAY for your appointment!