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Ear Candling- The Trend NOT to Try

By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.
Sanjeev Balamohan, M.D.

It seems every couple years the trend of using a candle to clean the ears resurfaces. With social media, many find this cleaning tactic grossly-satisfying, however, hearing professionals find this terrifying.

Here’s why ear candling is not recommended:

  1. Wax (cerumen) is good for your ears! It helps to moisturize the ear, trap dust and debris, and fight bacteria and infections.
  2. Ear maintenance should be easy as it is a self-cleaning system. Cerumen is secreted at the outer edge of your ear and naturally works its way out by pushing out the old cerumen to make room for new.
  3. Often times at-home ear cleaning tools push more wax in the ear than it removes.

Does ear candling even work? There are 2 theories to explain how ear candling works: 1) the candle creates a vacuum effect in the ear to suction out the earwax and 2) the heat melts the wax so it easily flows out of the ear. But the brown “gunk” at the bottom of the candle isn’t actually ear wax; studies have shown that both theories are not effective enough to remove ear wax.

Furthermore, most DIY at-home treatments push the ear wax further into the ear and can damage the eardrum. Ear candling has also resulted in burns to the face.

The way to remove ear wax is to let the ears natural process work its magic. But for some, they may produce more ear wax and need a little help. While over-the-counter ear drops like Debrox can help to soften ear wax and aid in the natural removal, many times ENT physicians are needed to properly remove the wax.

To schedule an appointment for ear wax removal call our office at 847-685-1000.

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