The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everyone loves a quick fix, particularly when the solution is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? You can learn to fix that from a YouTube video. It may take you a little bit longer than it would take a plumber, but there’s no replacement for the satisfaction you feel, right?

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

Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. 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 exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

What is ear candling?

Everyone has had the feeling of a plugged ear now and then. Sometimes, it occurs when you’re sick and your ear fills with mucus. In other cases, it might happen because you have too much earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). When this occurs, you might experience a certain amount of discomfort. You may even notice a temporary loss in your ability to hear. It’s not fun!

Some people, as a result, think that ear candling is just the cheap and novel fix they need. The idea is to put the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle in your ear. People imagine that the wax and mucus are pulled out by the combination of heat and pressure changes in your ear.

Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t suggest this practice. If you’re looking for evidence that ear candling really works and pulls out wax, you won’t find any. Essentially, the vast majority of hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically recommend 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!)

What are the disadvantages of ear candling?

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

Sadly, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be downright hazardous. What are the side effects of ear candling? Here are just a few of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can affect your health:

  • The earwax can be pushed even further into your ear: Inserting an ear candle into your ear can actually jam 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 trigger all sorts of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.
  • Your face could be severely burned: Look, whenever you’re positioning candles that close to your face, there’s a strong possibility you’ll burn yourself. 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 become severely burned.
  • You might accidentally puncture your eardrum: There’s a danger that comes with inserting anything in your ears! You might accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating significant discomfort and damage to your hearing. Often, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.
  • You can leave candle wax behind in your ear: The candle wax can get left behind in your ears even if you don’t get burned. This Leftover wax can cause serious discomfort and, eventually, impact your hearing.
  • You can cause severe burns to your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are extremely hot. If the tip of the candle or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re facing some considerable burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).

So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t only useless, it’s utterly dangerous.

A better way to deal with earwax

Ear wax is generally rather healthy. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining properly) that you begin to have problems. So… if you can’t make use of a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?

If you have an earwax blockage, the most beneficial thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. Usually, they will recommend that you try some at-home solutions, such as a saline wash, to soften the wax allowing it to run out by itself. But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

Hearing specialists have special tools and training that allow them to clear away wax without harming your ear.

It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Nothing smaller than your finger should be put into your ears unless advised by your hearing specialist or physician.

How to help your ears feel better

Schedule a consultation with us if you have excess earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. 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.