Ear candling already sounds dangerous even without an explanation of what it is, and it’s likely worse for you than you imagine.
A certain amount of ear wax is actually important for preventing infections (though a build-up can make your ears itchy and impair your hearing), so removing it through ear candling doesn’t make a lot of sense. But this reality doesn’t come close to being the scariest thing about ear candling.
What exactly is ear candling?
The procedure involves lighting one end of a hollow fabric cone soaked in wax, placing the end of the cone in your ear, and lighting the wick at the other end. Ear candling, also called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy, is touted as an easy home remedy for removing impurities from your ears, thereby helping with everything from earaches to stress.
However, not only is it ineffective in doing what it is intended to do (Healthline reports that no evidence has been found for ear candling’s supposed health benefits) but it can also cause serious damage to the ear being “treated.”
What kind of damage can ear candling cause?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, ear candling can cause burns to the ear. The most severe of these burns can lead to hearing loss (one of the very issues that the procedure is supposed to help with). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists the following alarming risks of ear candling:
- Burns to the face, ear canal, eardrum and middle ear
- Injury to the ear from dripping wax
- Plugging of the ears by candle wax
- Perforation of the eardrum
- Delay in seeking needed medical care for an underlying condition
Some patients have reportedly required surgery to repair damage caused by ear candling. The FDA is particularly concerned that this “treatment” is being marketed for use on children, as the likelihood of injury is higher. Clearly, this practice does more harm than good.
Looking for professional medical help?
While many home remedies aren’t as dangerous as ear candling, sometimes you need an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Houston Sinus & Allergy specializes in treating nasal and sinus conditions and providing allergy care. Our practice is committed to helping you find long term relief from your symptoms. Dr. Nguyen is a Board Certified ENT – Head and Neck Surgeon with extensive training & experience in diseases of the ears, nose & throat.
Click here to book an assessment, or call us at the number posted at the top of the page.