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Does Ear Candling Work?

Do Ear Candles Really Work?

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.


Join The Conversation
guinnevere guinnevere 9 years
*shrug* my father (from mexico) has been doing this to himself and us for YEARS and i'm sure he learned it from his mother. however, they didn't have sophisticated ear candles, they just used a rolled up piece of paper and set it on fire. i think it's awesome if you're careful and don't burn yourself :)
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
Oh, yes it can be unsafe if you're not a professional who is trained to do candling, like my aunt. I remember that I was scared of the flame, but my mom told me to stop worrying because my aunt knew what she was doing. Once I started to relax, it felt nice though. For sure, don't try this at home. But do give it a try. It's so much better to at least try natural remedies before you do more potentially dangerous things.
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
YESSS! I was thinking about creating a post on it. My aunt who is a nurse in Canada did this for me and my parents several years ago when she came to visit(at least 10 years ago). It's very cool, I think because it's natural. My parents remarked on how much better their hearing was after it was done, but I was too young to really remember much. I did like the part when my aunt unrolled the candles to see all the gunk that was in my ears though! LOL
honeycreepshow honeycreepshow 9 years
My mother and sister swear by this, but I've never tried it. The candle does burn outward so there's no danger of it dripping on your hair, and what we do is cut a hole in the middle of a paper plate and stick the candle through it to catch any wax that does fall.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I have never heard of this before. I am baffled as to why no one has ever mentioned this. I actually started laughing when I saw this. It is the most insane thing I've ever heard. I'm going to start asking around and see if anyone that I know has done this and failed to mention it!
Allytta Allytta 9 years
for those who don't know if it's your ear wax or just the canlde, just smell it :) you'll know the difference at once, if it's ear wax.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
:D wow, now that's something i don't need at all. i go to the doctor for this procedure and don't mind paying good money for professional care of my ears. not sticking anything in them plus it's kinda hazzardous for the hair, you never know what can happen with the flame.
Ashlyn-Rose Ashlyn-Rose 9 years
As a speech and hearing major, I've taken a lot of audiology classes, so I'm pretty informed about the ears. Do not do this! If you think you have problem with your hearing, see a physician. If your ear feel "full" of wax and you can't hear as well in one ear, you probably have impacted wax (a candle will not remove this). Someone mentioned this helping their tinnitus. This is a placebo effect. Tinnitus is a problem with hair cells in the cochlea (inner ear), which cannot be effected by a candle. If any pain is relieved by ear candling I would guess that it's due to the gentle heat.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
:oy: This is so ridiculous. What's next...going to the spa and have them throw some chicken bones at your ear!? I don't know if it's actually good for you or not, but hydrogen peroxide works wonders at cleaning out your ear canals. I used to use it regularly and my doc said I had the cleanest ears in town. Now that I don't live somewhere where I have allergies, I don't bother as much.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
People, if you have a problem with earwax or feel like your hearing is blocked, just go to your family physician and have them get the wax out with a warm stream of water. It's safe, easy, and a trained professional with a medical or nursing degree does it. Whenever I go deep scuba diving, my ears get pretty clogged, so I have the doctor take a look - but I would never, ever try ear candling.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I have abnormally small ear canals so I actually have to go at least once every year to clean out my ears or the buildup will completely block my hearing. It is so much more worth it to me to pay $20 co-pay for an ENT specialist to suck it all out in less than a minute with a real vacuum. It seems like less hassle for more of a guaranteed performance.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
I'm a qualified ear candler. I've had it done many times myself (I had glue ear as a kid and was deaf in my right ear and ear candling has fixed it!) and have done it many times for other people. I have cured migraines, stopped phlegm build-up in the throat and helped people to hear again. Anybody who knocks it just hasn't tried it. Also - I've never told people anything other than that the wax in the tube is from the candle itself. That's obvious surely?
emalove emalove 9 years
I have absolutely zero desire to try this!
raieven raieven 9 years
Yeah but then how do you explain the difference in the amount of wax in one ear? In my left there was SO MUCH, in the right, not so much. Both candles burned for the same amount of time.
Bee333 Bee333 9 years
I've always wondered about this, but am not sure I'd ever do more than read about it. It's an ancient practice. They used to use ear scoops also. Today we tend to over-cleanse.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
my boyrfriend says that his friend swears by it - but until now i've never gone for it - and with this story - i think that i'm going to stay away.
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
I COMPLETELY DISAGREE! When done properly, ear candling is FANTASTIC!!!!!!! It CAN make a difference... Especially when you feel yourself coming down with a cold... And then you get it done... You feel your senses just open up. Also... I DO NOT BELIEVE PEOPLE WHO SAY THE RESIDUE IN THE CANDLE IS FROM THE CANDLE ITSELF OR FROM THE SMOKE. Whenever I get candling done, they cut open the candle for you.. And you can see the ear wax. It is just like the wax you pull out of your ear with a Q-tip. And it's soft. ALSO... The candles used for candling are made of a DRIP-LESS PARAFFIN WAX... So they DO NOT drip back down into your ear. On fact, they shouldn't drip at all. They are made to burn "outward" as they burn down. So if there was any wax, it would fall outside the candle, not down into it. I mean, the candles are basically hollow tubes. They're wonderful.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
I GUESS it makes sense. It sounds very Hollywood to me with chimes ringing in the background
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
you should have a trained professional do this - you will burn yourself and others if you get an at home kit. i almost caught my room on fire when i tried to candle my sister's ears. i got it done in australia and my sinuses were clear for 6 months afterward!
mudnessa mudnessa 9 years
my dad swears by these. he loves them. yes you can tell most of the stuff is from the candle and not your ear but he swears by them. there is no pain and even if it is a placebo effect it seems to work for him. on the other hand i used it once and it did something to my ear and it ITCHED like crazy for days. it was horrible, so its definitely not for everyone but i dont think its harmful if you do it right and under good supervision. and with a quality product, my dad says some of his co-workers do it with rolled up newspaper, thats just dangerous and useless . . . but they continue to do it and think it works.
PJ-PJ-PJ PJ-PJ-PJ 9 years
I have a friend who does this every other month & swears it works. It's just the placebo effect, though. It doesn't hurt, foxie. I've actually used these, at this friend's suggestion, but I stopped last year. Why?, because I took one & burned it without putting it to my ear. Guess what, it produced the same yellow/orange residue that everyone thinks is their ear wax! For all of you that believe this works, please just try one outside of your ear & see what happens.
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
huh...didnt know there was smthin like ear candlin!
butterflyrouge butterflyrouge 9 years
This was a fad among my friends about six or seven years ago. My mom did it to my little brother, and sure enough, there was gunk in the cone. Then I burned a cone by itself, holding it over a clean plate- and the inside looked identical to the one from my brother's ear! So yeah, I've seen firsthand that it's just the cone. And no, my little brother didn't feel any different afterwards.
squirrellypoo squirrellypoo 9 years
in a word - NO! These have been proven to be a gigantic hoax and I'm surprised you're even giving them time and space. Burn one of these outside your ear and they'll give off the exact same "detoxing" gunk that they claim comes from your body. Search google for "ear candle hoax" or read one of my favourite sources for scientific responses, Bad Science, where they talk about ear candle claims:
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