There are plenty of ways to damage your ears, be it exposure to loud noise, disease or the use of ototoxic medication. Placing a candle in your ear and lighting it on fire may be one of the surest ways to cause injury.
What Is Ear Candling?
Ear candling in ancient practice dating back to the Hopi Indians. The tapered end of a 10-inch hollow candle is placed into the ear and then the end is lit. Some believe the flame creates a suction, pulling earwax out of the inner ear.
Those who practice ear candling believe that your ears are connected through a passage in the head, so cleaning out the earwax leaves you with a clean and clear head.
In addition to removing earwax, some suggest that ear candling can treat:
- TMJ disorders
- Swimmer’s ear
- Meniere’s disease
There has been no scientific evidence to back up any of these claims.
The Dangers of Ear Candling
Experts advise against ear candling.
The Food and Drug Administration issued an official warning against the practice as it can cause serious injuries, including burns to the face, ear canal, eardrum and middle ear as well as damage caused by melting wax.
The deputy director of the Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices at the FDA, Dr. Eric Mann reports the “FDA believes there is no valid scientific evidence for any medical benefit from their use.” Others note that instead of ear candling removing earwax, it actually pushes the wax it deeper into the ear canal.
Others note that instead of ear candling removing earwax, it actually pushes the wax it deeper into the ear canal.
Earwax Is Healthy
The most obvious problem with ear candling is that earwax is actually perfectly normal to have. Created in the ear canal, earwax protects the ear from dirt and dust entering the ear, moisturizes the ear canal to prevent itchy ears and contains chemicals that can help fight infections.
Earwax will usually work its way out of your ear all on its own. If you do produce too much earwax, your doctor can instruct you on how to soften the earwax so it falls easily. In severe cases, your impacted earwax may need to be removed by a professional.
To learn more about the dangers of ear candling or how to keep your ears safe, contact the experts at Texas ENT & Allergy.