What Is Ear Candling, and Should You Try It?

ear candlingWax build-up is a common ailment that can lead to discomfort, pressure, and temporary hearing loss.

Earwax is produced deep in the ear and makes its way outward. For most people, earwax is not bothersome as it will remove itself. In other cases, it can lead to a blockage. We often stick cotton swabs or fingers in our ear to remove earwax, but this actually compacts it and makes it worse. This is quite dangerous and not advised as you can cause irreversible damage to the eardrum.


A natural remedy for earwax removal is a technique called ear candling. Ear candling is done using a tube, which is dipped in paraffin, inserted in the ear and lit on fire. It is believed that ear candling aids in drainage in the head via the tympanic system (ear drum).

When the wax tube burns, it creates a vacuum that pulls out the earwax. Although ear candling is quite proper, medical researchers advise against this practice.

First off, there is no clinical evidence that ear candling is effective. In fact, it could push earwax deeper in the ear.

In one study that looked at the effectiveness of ear candling for earwax removal, it found no difference in the removal of wax. In some patients, the earwax actually became impacted.

Furthermore, it is believed that the ear system can drain through an ear, but this was also debunked through research. Liquids and gases cannot pass through the eardrum. Furthermore, there are no interconnected passages in the head aside from veins and arteries. Other systems in the body such as the lymphatic and nervous system cannot be drained through the ears.

Ear candling has also been associated with an injury such as burns, eardrum puncture, and infection.

If you are looking for home remedies to remove ear wax safely, then these tips are far more effective.

First and foremost, do not start sticking cotton swabs into your ear. This is an incredibly harmful practice, especially if you have lodged wax. Swabbing can also damage the ear canal, and you don’t want that to happen.

If you have a wax problem, you will want to soften the wax. You can easily do this by putting a few drops of warm olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt water, baking soda, or even hydrogen peroxide in the ear. You simply put the solution in your ear and lay on the opposite side of the affected ear, so the liquid can really get in. After about 10 minutes, rinse the ear and ensure you dry it properly. In a few days, this will soften the wax to the point where it begins to come out on its own – or a doctor can flush it out – without too much pain.


Another method, which apparently is very common on flights, is using Styrofoam cups. This remedy is meant to alleviate pain, particularly when flying. Soak a napkin or cloth in hot water, allowing it to absorb. Place this warm, damp napkin in the cup and hold it over the ear. The steam will provide heat to the ears and soften up any hard wax.

You can also place a hot pack or warm towel over the ear area for pain relief.

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Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.



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