Ear candling? Candles belong on the dinner table, not in your ears
Setting the mood, dispensing pleasant fragrance, even showing the way when the lights go out – lit candles are good for all of these things. What aren’t they good for? Drawing out earwax or treating sinus infections through the popular but very dangerous and ineffective practice of ear candling. Here’s why healthcare professionals caution you against it.
What is ear candling?
Although no one is certain when this alternative form of therapy began, some accounts trace its origins back to the Hopi Indians and their spiritual healing beliefs. The practice involves placing the tapered end of a 10-inch hollow candle into a person’s ear, then lighting the other end. Practitioners believe the flame creates suction which pulls earwax from your inner ear.
Candlers believe, falsely, that the passages in the head are all connected so that clearing the ear canal of wax leaves you with a clean head. In addition to relieving sinus pain and pressure, candlers say the practice treats everything from tinnitus and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) to swimmer’s ear and Meniere’s disease. The technique is also known as thermal auricular therapy and ear coning. No scientific studies exist to support their claims.
Why you shouldn't do it
Healthcare professionals caution against ear candling for several reasons:
So go ahead and use candles to set the mood, enjoy a soothing fragrance or illuminate a dark path, but refrain from allowing anyone to put a lit candle near your face or in your ear canal. If your ear feels stuffy, see your family doctor to determine if you have a medical condition which needs to be treated. If you aren’t hearing well, see a hearing healthcare professional. They can administer a hearing evaluation and, if you are diagnosed with hearing loss, help you determine the best treatment options for your lifestyle and budget.