While some home remedies and therapeutics can help for a range of conditions, it’s important to know that they reside on a spectrum. Enjoying a few cups of green tea when you have a cold or flu, for instance, can help soothe your throat and help hydrate you, allowing you a powerful antioxidant boost that helps you feel calmer, clearer and not as worn out.

However, some home remedies can be outdated or possibly put you at more risk than they’re worth. This is especially important to consider when practicing self-care for sensitive organs like our ears. For example, using cotton swabs to remove wax from the outer ear gently may seem like a good idea, but placing the bud within the ear canal is absolutely not advised because of the damage it can cause.

Ear candling is another technique you may have heard of. This alternative remedy has been used by those who believe its ability to draw out wax from the eardrum ultimately leads to better auditory health. In this post, we’ll explain why this practice is best avoided, and what its associated dangers are.

What is Ear Candling?

Ear candling, which some people know as ‘coning,’ is a practice wherein you are advised to take a thin, lit candle in order to ‘draw out’ wax from the inner ear. These candles are usually quite thin so they mimic the size of your ear canal and may be doused in paraffin.

The person receiving the treatment will lay down, usually on their side, and someone will light the candle. As the person holds the candle over the ear canal, a small divider is placed so hot wax doesn’t fall directly into the ear or around it. The lit candle will remain held in place for up to 20 minutes.

Why Do People Feel Ear Candling is Necessary?

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, it is claimed that ear candling creates a ‘suction’ effect. Additionally, people claim that the heat from the candle can help soften the wax found within the inner ear so it can drain clearly and remove impurities.

In many cases, ear candling is a pseudoscientific practice backed with all kinds of wild claims, such as reducing tension, preventing aches, treating colds, reversing hearing loss and even treating your sinuses. It’s important to note that no peer-reviewed research has managed to replicate these results.

What are the Dangers and Risks Associated with Ear Candling?

Of course, due to the materials used within this practice, it’s not hard to see why many remain skeptical. To begin with, holding a lit candle so close to your face for so long is probably not a good idea. If hot wax drips into your ear canal, that in itself can cause problems.

Through usual handling, it’s not uncommon for tiny parts of the candle to dispel from its main body and find its way into your eardrum. As there’s no specific benefit to this practice, any possibility of burning or damage to the inner ear is nowhere near worth the risk.

Perhaps most problematic is that those who undergo ear candling can convince themselves they no longer need help from a qualified medical professional, like an audiologist, because they already consider themselves to have “undergone” treatment. Unfortunately, all they will have achieved is wasting their time and money, while also risking their health.

What May be a Superior Alternative to Ear Candling?

Without sounding glib, almost every piece of qualified advice that could be afforded to your particular situation is going to be a superior alternative to ear candling.

With an audiologist able to thoroughly inspect your ear and hearing capabilities, they can curate the right plan just for you. In some cases, a specialist may be tasked with helping you remove your earwax.

Perhaps the most superior alternative to ear candling, however, is simply choosing not to go along with the practice. If you are experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss, it can feel tempting to undergo a somewhat interesting and seemingly peaceful procedure to help; but unfortunately, it won’t.

If you’ve already undergone ear candling and believe your inner ear or hearing to be damaged, it’s important to speak to your audiologist for a full appointment and inspection. At Clifton Springs Hearing Center, we believe that open communication and transparency with our valued clients is key to finding the right solution.

Please, contact our friendly team today, or call 315-496-4314 for immediate assistance!

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