What’s the hype about ear candles? Are they safe? Do they really clean the ears and suck out wax and other dirt and debris?
First things first – let’s define ear candles. At a glance, ear candles pretty much look like standard candle sticks. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that they are made of fabric hollow cones and are covered in beeswax, paraffin wax, or soy wax.
Ear candles are marketed as a natural alternative to ear cleaning, with its proponents claiming that the warmth created by the candles triggers a suction mechanism that naturally pulls earwax and other dirt out of the ears and into the hollow space of the candle.
How Are Ear Candles Used?
Ear candles are usually 10 inches long. To use them, you need to cut a hole in a paper plate or a cardboard and stick the candle into it. The paper plate acts as a shield to prevent the candle wax and ash from falling into your face.
You lie on your side and place the candle in the ear canal for about 15 minutes. Believers of ear candles claim that they feel a low-level suction force that pulls dirt and debris out of the ears. Some ear candle users claim that the heat from the candle softens the wax and makes it fall out naturally over the next day.
Proponents of ear candles claim that when they are split open, dirt and debris fall out.
How true are these claims?
From a medical professional’s point of view, so many things about the claims of ear candles just don’t add up. Let’s begin with earwax. Accumulated earwax can be firmly pressed together and very sticky. In short, it would take more than the warmth of an ear candle to get it out of the ears.
Several studies have shown that ear candles do not provide any suction force during the procedure. Additionally, the warmth produced by the ear candles was way below body temperature – far too low to be able to melt or soften the ear wax.
What is the “debris” found inside ear candles?
It turns out that the debris found inside the ear candles after splitting them open were not impurities sucked out from the ears. The debris turned out to be a mixture of burned candle wax and fabric.
Is it safe to use ear candles?
No, we would not recommend using ear candles. If anything, they are very ineffective in removing earwax and cleaning the ears.
Using ear candles may only put you at risk of harming your ear, burning your skin, your clothes, or any household items in proximity. Ear candling could even cause you to accidentally drip hot wax into your ear canal, clogging the passage, and causing temporary hearing loss.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any ear candles for medical use. In fact, it has released warnings to consumers and manufacturers about stopping the use and import of ear candles.
How Can I Remove Wax Safely?
While there’s a common belief that earwax is not hygienic, it actually exists for a reason – and that is to keep the ears lubricated and protected. Of course, having earwax buildup is a whole other matter.
Having a case of earwax accumulation can lead to temporary hearing loss, ringing in the ears, discomfort, or even infection.
So how can you remove earwax safely? Below are some safe ways to remove earwax:
- Avoid ear candles: Ear candles are not safe or effective. They may only cause burns, further wax blockages, or a punctured eardrum.
- Use ear drops: Over-the-counter ear drops can help soften earwax, making them easier to remove. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label. Don’t use ear drops if you have an existing ear infection or a perforated eardrum. To be safe, consult with an audiologist first before using OTC ear drops.
- Irrigation: You can flush your ears with warm water to help loosen and remove earwax. A bulb syringe or irrigation kit can be used. However, if you’re not comfortable performing ear irrigation on your own, an audiologist will be happy to do it for you at their clinic.
When attempting to remove earwax at home, skip the cotton swabs or other sharp objects that can push the wax deeper into the ears. If you have a history of ear surgeries or ear infections, consult with a physician first before using OTC ear drops or earwax removal kits to avoid complications and further damage.
If you are experiencing symptoms of earwax buildup, including drainage, hearing loss, or pain, it would be best to seek professional help from an audiologist or ENT. They are trained to safely remove the earwax using special equipment and methods.
Professional Earwax Removal in Abilene, TX
Removing earwax safely is vital for maintaining healthy hearing. Please avoid using ear candles to address earwax woes.
You may use ear drops or irrigation if necessary, but it’s still best to seek professional help to ensure the safety of your ears.
Audiologists at Abilene Audiology Co. are trained to provide a proper assessment and safely remove earwax using safe and effective techniques. We provide professional earwax removal in Abilene, TX.
Contact us today to book an appointment!