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 probably be a bit more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.

At least, until your sink begins to leak again. Because, as it so happens, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.

Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. And, to some extent, that’s why individuals will frequently continue to seek out “easy” DIY-fixes for intricate problems, which might help explain the popularity of something called ear candling (or, in some cases, earwax candling). It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it? Let’s dive into exactly what earwax candling is and its dangers.

Ear candling – what is it?

Everyone has had the feeling of a stuffy ear from time to time. Occasionally, it takes place when you’re ill and your ear fills with mucus. In other cases, it may happen because you have too much earwax in your ears (and too much earwax can have a variety of causes). When this takes place, you may experience a certain amount of discomfort. You might even notice a temporary loss of hearing. It’s no fun!

Some individuals, as a result, believe that ear candling is just the cheap and novel solution they need. The idea is to place the non-burning end of a special, hollow candle inside of your ear. Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow design of the candle changes the air pressure inside of your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.

It should be quickly noted that ear candling is not recommended by healthcare professionals. If you’re looking for evidence that ear candling actually works and draws out wax, you won’t find any. Almost every single hearing healthcare professional, as a result, will strongly recommend against utilizing this strategy ever. Ear candling also has no effect on sinus pressure.

The FDA also firmly advocates against this practice.

What are the downsides of ear candling?

Ear candling might feel safe, initially. It’s not like it’s a giant flame. And you’re using “specialized” equipment. And people on the internet said it was safe! So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?

Ear candling can, unfortunately, be very hazardous and there’s no way to get around that! What negative impacts can ear candling have? Ear candling can impact your health in the following negative and potentially painful ways:

  • You could accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you insert something into your ear, you put yourself in danger! You may accidentally puncture your eardrum, creating substantial discomfort and harm to your hearing. Frequently, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.
  • You could seriously burn your face: There’s always a pretty good possibility that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! Severe burns on the face aren’t the only dangers, you could also catch your hair on fire or trickle hot wax into your eye.
  • 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, affect your hearing.
  • You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are really hot. If the candle tips or the wax goes into 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 jam earwax further into the ear canal much like when you use a cotton swab. In other words, ear candling can make your earwax problem worse! This can trigger all kinds of other complications from hearing loss to serious infections.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals advocate ear candling? Not at all! Not only is ear candling not helpful, it’s actually really dangerous!

A better way to deal with earwax

Ear wax is usually rather healthy. It’s helpful for your ears in normal quantities. Issues start when there’s too much earwax or when it won’t properly drain. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to get rid of earwax, what should you do?

Consult a hearing specialist if you have a persistent earwax obstruction. Normally, they will suggest 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 may also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them remove wax without injuring your ear.

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 plan to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

Give your ears some relief

Schedule an appointment with us if you have surplus earwax that’s causing you some discomfort. We will be able to help you remove 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.