Ear candling – have you heard of it? Offered as a spa treatment or found at health food stores in do-it-yourself kits, this treatment is touted as a method to deep clean your ears. The long, hollow, tapered tubes (the candle) are made of muslin and coated with wax. Basically you stick one end in your ear, and someone lights the other end. As the hollow candle burns, the smoke and heat create a gentle vacuum that supposedly sucks out debris and excess ear wax to relieve sinus pressure, cure infections and improve hearing.
Each candle burns for about 20 minutes, until just about four inches of candle remains. After vacuuming your ears, if you cut open the candles, you'll see yellowish powder and tiny balls of yellow wax. Is that from your ear?
To find out
Experts say that what you find inside the cone is definitely not from your ear, but actually residue from the smoke or the ear candle wax. If the vacuum that the candle creates were powerful enough to suck earwax out of your ear, you wouldn't want it to because earwax is essential to normal ear functioning. Your body secretes it to help clean and lubricate your ear. It also prevents bacteria, fungi, water and bugs from hanging out in there. Ear candling doesn't work and can be very dangerous because wax from the candle can drip into your ear, or the burning candle could catch your hair on fire.
Fit's Tips: If you have an excess of earwax or are experiencing pain or loss of hearing, then make an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist and stay away from ear candles.