Is It Safe to Use Earwax Candles?
Ear wax candles (also known as auricular candles) are lit candles that are inserted into a person’s ear to draw earwax out of the ear. This is done while the person lays on their side. They are usually hollow cone candles about ten inches long. There is usually a covering that prevents any wax from going into the ear during the process. The idea is that the candle’s heat creates a suction to pull impurities out of the ear.
However, there are no proven benefits to ear candling. Ear candle manufacturers are still advertising the great benefits of this non-proven method and the risks are not always known. There are plenty of other safer options of remedies for ear wax removal.
The Risks Involved With Ear Candling
The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has warned about the dangers of ear candles for years. Some of the potential risks of using earwax candles are:
- burn injuries
- punctured eardrum and other ear injury
- ear wax and deposits of candle wax getting stuck in the ear
- temporary hearing loss
- swimmers ear
- physical injuries and partial hearing loss
- ear infections
Children are especially at risk of injury because they do not always stay still during the ear candling procedure. Another problem with the candling process is that it stops people from getting the help they need from a hearing care professional. This could lead to canal infections or other ear conditions going untreated and getting worse.
The effects of ear candling and potential complications of candling are not worth any possible benefits of ear candling. You will end up adding more problems to your ear wax buildup situation. Hot candle wax and melted candle wax will do more damage than the natural ear wax you have in your ear. Ear wax removal, when done the wrong way, leads to serious problems.
The Proper Way to Clean Your Ears
Earwax moves out of the ear all by itself. With motions like chewing and swallowing, you are slowly moving wax to the front of your ear. Once the wax gets outside the ear it starts to dry up.
Earwax can build up in the ear. This happens most often when someone is using their finger or other foreign objects to try and get earwax out. A cotton swab should not be going in the ear canal. They end up pushing the earwax back further into the ear. This can cause an earwax blockage.
Signs of earwax blockage:
- earwax buildup earaches
- muffled hearing
- temporary mild hearing loss
- ear discharge
- foul-smell coming from ears
Hearing aid users often experience more canal blockage because the hearing aid stops air from circulating in the ear. The earwax doesn’t come out and dry up as easily in this case.
The safest form of earwax removal is with your hearing care professional. They have special tools that safely clear the blockage with a professional ear cleaning. Getting medical attention with a professional cleaning allows you to skip the dangerous side effects.
At home, you can wipe your outer ear canal with a damp washcloth. Just remember you should never insert objects into your ear. You will only push the ear wax back and cause more buildup of earwax with harmful side effects.
Earwax Softening Drops
You may also want to try to soften the earwax with earwax softening drops. Pharmacies sell these ear drops over-the-counter and it is a relatively safe method. The ear drop solution may contain mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or saline. A dropper with hydrogen peroxide is a common component of an earwax removal kit.
This method can help work out some of the ear wax. Make sure that you are following the directions on the package and call your doctor if any of your symptoms persist.
Ear Candle Practitioner
Ear candle practitioners will advertise the benefits of ear candling despite the known risks. The effectiveness of ear candling has never been proven and ear candles have done more harm than good. Visiting ear candle practitioners is not a safe option either, and can also lead to injury.
Why Some People Experience Excessive Earwax Buildup
Earwax is actually very important to the health of your ears. Just because you see earwax doesn’t mean you have too much. Ear wax is good and we are glad that it is in our ears. Earwax has antifungal and antibacterial properties that keep our ears safe.
Most people do not need to remove earwax routinely. Earwax does that all on its own. There are certain factors that make a person prone to excess earwax. A small ear canal, a unique canal shape, recurrent ear infections, old age, and wearing hearing aids can all contribute to earwax build up. If you have any of these risk factors you can discuss them with your doctor and set up routine professional cleanings.
When you are routinely putting fingers, cotton swabs, etc. into your ear you are pushing ear wax further back into your ear. This can cause compaction and lead to more earwax buildup. Bad habits contribute to ear wax buildup as well as these other underlying conditions.
Using earplugs at work or while you sleep can also contribute to earwax buildup. They have a similar effect as hearing aids where airflow is blocked in your ear. This is something to mention if you visit your doctor about earwax buildup.
Visit Southwestern Hearing Centers
At Southwestern hearing centers we make sure you have everything you need to maximize your hearing experience. We take the time to get to know you and your lifestyle so that we can get you the proper treatment and care.
Many people take part in unhealthy habits that damage their ears simply because they haven’t been instructed not to. Regular visits with a hearing care professional will make sure that you are taking the best care of your ears and giving yourself the best tools to do so.