Ear candling, or ear coning, is the practice of placing a lit, cone-shaped candle into the ear. It’s a form of alternative medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. The heat from the candle is supposed to pull up the ear wax. Wax is not dripped into the ear.

People use ear candles to remove wax, improve hearing, and cure ear infections. It’s also touted as a way to treat:

Other people claim that it helps to control blood pressure and stress.

However, there isn’t any valid scientific evidence on the benefits of ear candling. In fact, doctors don’t recommend this practice because it’s considered dangerous and ineffective. It can also do more harm than good.

An ear candle is a hollow, cone-shaped piece of cotton soaked in beeswax, paraffin, or a mix of the two. The candle is about 10 inches long.

The wax might contain ingredients like:

  • rosemary
  • sage chamomile
  • honey
  • essential oils

Ear candling is usually done by an herbalist, massage therapist, or a beauty salon specialist. You should never try it on yourself, even if you know how to use an ear candle. This will only increase your risk of injury.

Generally, the candle is inserted through a foil or paper plate. The plate is supposed to catch hot wax.

An ear candle practitioner might also place a towel on your head and neck for more protection.

Here is how an ear candle is used:

  1. Your practitioner will have you lie on your side. One ear will be facing up.
  2. The pointed end of the candle is placed in your ear. The open end is lit.
  3. As the candle burns, it will be trimmed and kept open.
  4. No wax is allowed to drip into the ear or on the skin around the ear.
  5. The candle is burned for about 15 minutes.
  6. The flame is carefully blown out.

After the procedure, the candle can be cut open to display the inside materials.

The warmth of the candle’s flame is thought to create a vacuum. The suction is supposed to pull earwax and debris into the candle.

However, in 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they haven’t found reliable scientific evidence on the effectiveness of ear candling.

They also warned consumers against ear candling because it can cause serious physical injuries.

Ear candling can also make earwax buildup even worse.

The FDA reports that ear candles are associated with dangerous side effects. Ear candling increases the risk for the following accidents and issues:

  • burns on the face, ear canal, eardrum, middle ear
  • ear injury from hot wax
  • ears plugged by wax
  • punctured eardrum
  • bleeding
  • accidental fires
  • not getting medical attention for underlying conditions like ear infections and hearing loss

These accidents can happen even if you use a candle according to the directions.

The safest way to remove earwax is to see your doctor for a professional cleaning. Your doctor can clean your ears with:

  • cerumen spoon
  • suction device
  • forceps
  • irrigation

You can also try home remedies for earwax removal. These options are safer than ear candling:

Wax softener drops

Over-the-counter ear drops can soften and dislodge earwax. These solutions may contain:

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • saline
  • acetic acid
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • glycerin

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions. It will indicate how many drops you should use and how long you should wait.

Find ear wax removal drops for sale here.

Oil

Some people use oil to soften earwax. There isn’t hard scientific research on its benefits, but it’s not linked to serious injuries.

The following oils may be used:

Here is one way to use olive oil for earwax removal:

  1. Fill a dropper with olive oil.
  2. Tilt your head. Add two to three drops to the blocked ear.
  3. Wait for a few minutes. Use a tissue to wipe away excess oil.
  4. Repeat twice a day for one to two weeks.

Hydrogen peroxide

You can also use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide as an ear drop solution. It’s thought to break apart earwax when it bubbles.

  1. Fill a dropper with hydrogen peroxide.
  2. Tilt your head to the side. Add 5 to 10 drops to the blocked ear.
  3. Stay still for a few minutes.
  4. Tilt the ear down to let the solution and earwax drain.

Baking soda

Baking soda and water is another remedy for earwax removal. The solution is supposed to dissolve earwax buildup.

  1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with 2 teaspoons water
  2. Tilt your head to the side. Add 5 to 10 drops to the blocked ear.
  3. Wait an hour. Flush with water.

Ear irrigation

The gentle pressure of ear irrigation may help remove earwax.

You can try irrigation after softening earwax with any of the above methods. The combination of both these methods might be more effective.

  1. Buy a rubber bulb syringe designed for ear cleaning.
  2. Fill it with body-temperature water.
  3. Tilt your head over a towel. Face the blocked ear downward.
  4. Squeeze the bulb so that the water flushes into your ear.

Don’t try these remedies if your eardrum is already damaged. The moisture might cause an infection. Instead, visit your doctor.

Buy a rubber bulb ear syringe online.

Ear candles are hollow cone candles made of wax-covered fabric. The pointed end is placed in your ear while the other end is lit. The warm “suction” is believed to remove earwax, improve hearing, and treat conditions like sinus infections and colds.

Ear candling isn’t safe and can cause serious injuries. The hot wax and ash may burn your face or ears. Also, ear candling could make earwax buildup even worse.

Experts do not recommend using ear candles.

If you need to remove earwax, visit your doctor. They can do a professional ear cleaning or suggest safe at-home treatments.

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