Does Ear Candling Actually Work?

In recent years, the practice of ear candling has garnered significant attention, particularly among enthusiasts of alternative and holistic medicine. This method, which involves using a hollow candle to supposedly extract earwax and other impurities from the ear canal, has been a topic of both curiosity and controversy. But does ear candling actually work, and is it safe? Let's delve into the facts and findings.

Origins and Process of Ear Candling

Contrary to popular belief, ear candling, also known as Hopi ear candles, did not originate from the Hopi Native American Indian tribes. Its roots are more likely traced back to traditional Chinese medicine practitioners or ancient Greeks. Modern ear candles are typically made from a cloth coated in beeswax, forming a hollow cylinder.

The process involves lying down on your side or sitting upright, inserting the small end of the candle into the ear canal, with the larger end lit and pointing upwards or towards a wall. The belief is that the flame creates a suction effect, drawing earwax and debris from the ear canal into the candle.

The Reality Behind Ear Candling

Despite its popularity, extensive research and clinical testing have consistently revealed that ear candling does not effectively remove earwax. In fact, the residue often found inside a used ear candle is not earwax from the ear but rather melted wax from the candle itself. This revelation is crucial, particularly for those who have been swayed by the seemingly impressive amount of wax-like substance found post-candling.

Moreover, ear candling poses significant risks. There have been instances where individuals have suffered injuries due to the hot wax from the candle dripping into the ear canal, potentially causing eardrum burns and even permanent hearing loss. Such dangers cannot be overstated, emphasizing the need for safer and more reliable earwax removal methods.

Safer Alternatives for Earwax Removal

When it comes to removing earwax effectively, it is essential to opt for safer and scientifically backed methods. Products like Ear Wax MD, a water-based solution, have been formulated to break down earwax efficiently. This product uses a blend of sodium and potassium bicarbonate, along with glycolic acid, to dissolve earwax in a short period. After the earwax has been softened, it can be easily flushed out using warm water with a device like the Wax Blaster MD.

For those keen on monitoring the effectiveness of such products, using a video endoscope, like the Ear View MD, can provide a before-and-after comparison of the ear canal's condition. This not only validates the effectiveness of the product but also ensures that the ear canal remains unharmed during the process.

The Verdict on Ear Candling

While ear candling might offer a sense of relaxation or therapeutic value for some, its ineffectiveness in earwax removal and the associated risks make it an unadvisable practice. The allure of a simple home remedy is understandable, but when it comes to ear health, relying on scientifically supported and safe methods is paramount.

In conclusion, ear candling, despite its historical roots and popularity in certain circles, is neither a safe nor effective method for earwax removal. For those experiencing earwax buildup, consulting with a healthcare professional or utilizing clinically approved earwax removal solutions is the best course of action. Remember, ear health is vital, and taking the right approach to ear care is essential for maintaining your auditory well-being.

For those seeking professional guidance in ear care and hearing health, the HearingUp network offers access to a selection of independent hearing care providers committed to implementing Best Practices in hearing aid fittings, personally vetted by Dr. Cliff himself. Discover a local hearing professional at HearingUp providers and ensure you are getting the best care for your hearing needs.

Video transcript

Video transcript

Hi guys. Cliff Olson, doctor of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. And in this video I'm talking about using ear candles to remove ear wax, coming up. Ear candles are extremely popular inside of the alternative and holistic medicine communities. Being a former massage therapist myself, I'm very familiar with using ear candles for relaxation as well as ASMR. In fact, there are a lot of proposed additional benefits of using ear candles, including the relief of sinus infections, ear infections, sore throats, ear pressure and pain, and have even been touted as a way to perform ear wax removal. And if you've ever performed ear candling on yourself, you've probably noticed a big glob of wax at the bottom of the candle when you were finished naturally. This begs the question, does ear candling remove ear wax? And the answer may surprise you.

Now, if this is the first time that you're hearing about ear candling, let me explain to you what it is and where it came from. Contrary to popular belief, ear candles, otherwise known as Hopi ear candles, did not actually originate from the Hopi Native American Indian tribes. Instead, it is more likely that they originated from traditional Chinese medicine practitioners or the ancient Greeks centuries ago. Modern ear candles like this one are made up of cloth, and then that cloth is coated in a wax, oftentimes beeswax. It is a hollow cylinder all the way through. Let me see if I can show you that there on camera. So there's nothing actually inside of there. There is a small opening on this end and a large opening on the other end. To use an ear candle, you either lie down on your side placing the small opening of the candle into your ear canal with the large opening pointing towards the ceiling, or you can sit upright with the candle pointing towards the wall.

This is largely due to preference, but ear candle users often debate on the best positioning. Then you light the large end of the candle and let it burn down to approximately three or four inches away from your ear. The theory behind this is that the flame on the large end will actually create a suction effect that will pull earwax and anything else that's inside of your ear canals into the bottom of the ear candle. When you're done, all you have to do is unravel the remaining portion of the candle to reveal what was pulled out of your ears. Alright, guys, before I show you what we actually pulled out of an ear canal using an ear candle, if you could do me a huge favor and click the like button, it really helps out my channel because it gets these videos in front of a bigger audience.

And while you're at it, if you have not yet hit that subscribe button with notification bell, go ahead and do that as well, because that ensures that you never miss one of our newly released videos and we release multiple new videos every single week. That being said, I really appreciate it and huge shout out to Eosera for sponsoring today's video, but more on them in a little bit. As you can see, there is often an impressive amount of wax that you'll typically discover inside of a burnt ear candle. So is this waxy substance that's left over inside of the ear candle actually earwax? Well, unfortunately, researchers have identified that the answer to that question

is no. Research is extremely consistent when it comes to earwax removal using ear candles, and it continues to show that ear candling does not actually remove any earwax, and it can also be extremely dangerous. As it turns out, the wax that you discover at the bottom of an ear candle is just the melted from the top portion of the candle. And just to make sure, I've tested this inside of my own clinic multiple times, but what if you don't actually believe me or all of the research for that matter? Well, I say just see for yourself. This is where using a video endoscope like the Ear View MD from Eosera, today's video sponsor, comes into play. If you actually take a look inside of your ear canals prior to performing ear candling, you will see exactly how much ear wax you have inside of your ears.

Then after you're done performing ear candling, you can take another look inside of your ear canals to see if the ear wax has been removed. If your ear canals do not go from looking something like this to looking something like this, then ear candling was not effective to remove your earwax. And this is where using earwax removal drops like Ear Wax MD can help. Ear Wax MD is a water-based solution that has been specifically formulated to break down ear wax in as little as 15 to 30 minutes. It does this by using a combination of sodium and potassium bicarbonate as well as glycolic acid to break down and dissolve earwax. All you need to do is lay down on your side and fill up your ear canal with the Ear Wax MD solution. As you can see here, Ear Wax MD is significantly more effective at breaking down earwax compared to the leading oil-based carbonide peroxide brands on the market.

Once the earwax has been broken down, all you need to do is simply flush that earwax out with warm water using the Wax Blaster MD. For stubborn cases of impacted ear wax, just repeat this process a second time. Of course, it's always a great idea to take a look inside of your ear canals before and after using Ear Wax MD so you can see for yourself how well it works. I regularly perform professional ear wax removal inside of my audiology clinic and Ear Wax MD are my go-to eardrops because they work. If you would like to check out Ear Wax MD or any of the other ear care products from Eosera, I will have them linked down in the description and you can also find them at your local pharmacy, Walmart, and CVS. Now, I am not saying that ear candling is completely pointless.

I still believe that they do have some therapeutic value, but as far as cleaning ear wax out of your ear canals, ear candles just don't work. Just recently, my brother-in-law sent me a photo showing me how much wax he pulled out of his ear using an ear candle, and I hated to break it to him, but the amount of wax that was pulled out would've been equivalent to as much wax as you could fit into four adult human ear canals, which I think we can all agree upon the fact that this is not possible. However, the ineffectiveness of ear candles as a ear wax removal tool is not really what I'm concerned about. What I'm concerned about are the potential dangers of you performing ear candling. There have been numerous reports of people injuring themselves by performing ear candling because the hot wax that is being melted by the burning flame is dropping into people's ear canals and burning a hole in their eardrum, sometimes causing permanent hearing loss. And not to mention it is extremely painful. So as an audiologist who would prefer that you perform your own ear wax removal at home so I don't always have to do it for you, I would recommend that you stick to some more safe and effective forms of ear wax removal because ear candling is not one of them.

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