Is ear candling a safe way to remove earwax?
Answer From Charles W. Beatty, M.D.
Ear candling — a technique that involves placing a lit, hollow, cone-shaped candle into the ear canal — can cause serious injury.
Research shows that ear candling is ineffective at removing earwax and is also not an effective treatment for any other conditions. In fact, the technique can actually push earwax deeper into the ear canal. Ear candling can also lead to:
- Deposits of candle wax in the ear canal
- Burns to the face, hair, scalp, ear canal, eardrum and middle ear
- Puncture of the eardrum
If you develop an earwax blockage, avoid ear candling. Instead, consult your doctor about simple steps you can take to safely and effectively remove the wax.
Charles W. Beatty, M.D.
Aug. 22, 2020
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See more Expert Answers
- Don't get burned: Stay away from ear candles. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm200277.htm. Accessed May 4, 2015.
- Rafferty J, et al. Ear candling: Should general practitioners recommend it? Canadian Family Physician. 2007;53:2121.
- Earwax and care. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1254. Accessed May 4, 2015.
- Dinces EA. Cerumen. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 4, 2015.
- Zackaria M, et al. Ear candling: A case report. European Journal of General Practice. 2009;15:168.