The Truth About Ear Candling

Woman receiving ear candle treatment

Everybody loves a quick fix, particularly when the fix is also a DIY fix. Sink Leaking? Just search YouTube for the suitable plumbing tutorial, buy the recommended tools, and get to work! A plumber would most likely be a little more efficient but then you wouldn’t get that sense of self-satisfaction that comes with doing it on your own.

At least, until your sink begins leaking again. Because, as it turns out, sometimes a DIY fix is no substitute for the well-sharpened skills of a professional.

Sometimes, that’s hard to admit. Ear candling or earwax candling is a perfect example of a DIY fix that people keep coming back to. It doesn’t really sound very appealing, does it? So, just what is ear candling, and how is it probably not the best thing ever? Well, let’s get into that.

What is ear candling?

Have you ever had a plugged-ear sort of feeling? Sometimes, your ear will fill with mucus when you’re sick. In other instances, it may occur because you have a surplus of earwax in your ears (and surplus earwax can have a variety of causes). This can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Your hearing may even temporarily go. It kind of stinks!

As a result, some people believe they have found what seems to be a natural and novel solution: ear candling. The concept is that a special hollow candle is put into your ear (non-burning end). Somehow, the combination of heat and the hollow design of the candle alters the air pressure within your ear canal, drawing the earwax or mucus out.

Healthcare professionals absolutely don’t recommend this practice. Do ear candles really draw wax out? No. There’s absolutely no proof that ear candling works (particularly not in the way that it’s supposed to work). In other words, most hearing and healthcare professionals will emphatically advocate against ever using this technique. Ear candling also has no effect on sinus pressure.

Just listen to the FDA! (What is the FDA saying about ear candling? Essentially, don’t do it!)

The drawbacks of ear candling

At first, ear candling may feel completely safe. It’s just a tiny flame. And the “equipment” is specialized. And there are lots of people online who maintain that it’s completely safe. So how could it be possible for ear candling to be dangerous?

Unfortunately, there’s no mistaking the fact that ear candling can be absolutely hazardous. What negative affects can ear candling have? Here are just some of the (potentially painful) ways that ear candling can impact your health:

  • Your ear can have residual candle wax drip in there: The candle wax can get into your ears even if you don’t get burned. This leftover wax can cause significant discomfort and, eventually, affect your hearing.
  • You can push that earwax even further into your ear: Putting an ear candle into your ear can actually force earwax further into the ear canal much like when you utilize a cotton swab. Your earwax issue can be worsened by earwax candling, in other words! Other complications, from hearing loss to ear infections can also be the consequence.
  • You could seriously burn your face: There’s always a pretty good chance that if you’re holding a flame up by your ear, you might burn your face. Accidents will happen! Serious burns on the face are not the only hazards, you could also catch your hair on fire or drip hot wax into your eye.
  • You can severely burn your ear: The fire and the melting ear candle wax are extremely hot. If the candle tips or the wax goes into where it’s not supposed to, you’re looking at some significant burning possibilities in your ear (and your ear is a sensitive location).
  • You could accidentally pierce your eardrum: Whenever you put something into your ear, you put yourself at risk! You may accidentally pierce your eardrum, creating substantial discomfort and harm to your hearing. Frequently, this is something that must be addressed by a hearing professional.

So, do hearing healthcare professionals endorse ear candling? Not at all! Ultimately, earwax candling isn’t just useless, it’s downright dangerous.

So how should you remove earwax?

Earwax is actually a good thing. It’s good for your ears in normal quantities. It’s only when there’s an excessive amount of earwax (or it isn’t draining correctly) that you start to have issues. So… if you can’t utilize a burning candle to eliminate earwax, what should you do?

If you have an earwax blockage, the best thing to do may be consulting with a hearing specialist. They might advise some at-home solutions (like using saline or mineral oil to soften the wax, allowing it to kind of slide out by itself). But they might also clean out your ear while you’re in the office.

Hearing specialists have specific tools and training that let them clean out wax without injuring your ear.

It’s best to avoid things like ear candles and cotton swabs. Unless your hearing specialist says differently, it’s a good policy to never put anything smaller than your finger in your ear.

Give your ears some relief

If accumulated earwax is causing you a little discomfort or distress, you should schedule an appointment with us. We can help you get back to normal by eliminating any stubborn earwax.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions? Talk To Us.