Is Ear Candling A Safe and Effective Way to Clean Ears?

This blog post has been reviewed and approved by a hearing healthcare professional.

You may be wondering if ear candling is a safe way to clean your ears. We recommend that anyone who is concerned about excessive earwax or how it is affecting their hearing to contact us for help. Our hearing healthcare professionals will do a thorough examination of your ears to see how much earwax you have built up in each ear. If required, we can also flush your ears and remove the earwax safely.

 

If you think you cannot wait to make an appointment at a local hearing centre and still want to try ear candling, here’s what you need to know.

What is Ear Candling?
An ear candle is a narrow, hollow cone that is soaked in wax and is allowed to harden. To use an ear candle, the person lies on their side while someone inserts the bottom of the candle into the ear. The top of the candle is lit on fire and is left to burn. This treatment is supposed to use the warmth from the candle to pull the earwax out of the ear.
Does Ear Candling Work?

There is no scientific evidence¹ that ear candling is effective at removing earwax from your ear canal. It has not been proven to create any suction, making this claim false. Researchers have even found that as the candle burns it can leave more wax inside your ear canal from the melting candles.


Others believe that the heat from the candle melts and softens the earwax, which falls out over the next few days. However, the temperatures produced by the candle are far too low to melt earwax and were even found to be below your body’s own temperature.² 


There is also the potential for candling to cause harm instead of helping:


  • Some people reported having worse ear aches after using the procedure.

  • The candle can push your earwax deeper into your ear canal instead of removing it.

  • Wax from the melting candle can wind up getting into your ear canal causing a worse.blockage.

  • The fire or melted wax could burn you since it is so close to your face and ears.

Is Ear Candling Safe?

Health Canada indicates that there are potential complications that can arise from candling, including:


  • Burns from the flame

  • Injuries caused by hot wax dripping into ears, or onto skin or hair

  • Candle wax blocking in the canal

  • Punctured eardrum

  • Temporary loss of hearing


The Government of Canada has also made it illegal to import or sell ear candles.

Earwax removal is a delicate process as you don’t want to damage your ear. It is important not to stick things in your ear as it can make the blockage worse. If you think you are experiencing excessive earwax or a blockage, it is recommended to contact one of our hearing care clinics or your family physician who can safely remove earwax.

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1 “Ear Candling.” Government of Canada. Accessed on October 6, 2022. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/medical-procedures/ear-candling.html


2 McKenney, Jonathon. “Ear Candling: Should You Try It?”. WebMD. Accessed on Oct 13, 2022. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ear-infection/what-is-ear-candling