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Does Ear Candling Work & How Safe is Removal of Ear Wax with Candles?

It is important to remove ear wax from time to time from the ear. While it may sound weird to remove wax with anything other than earbuds, there are other ways too. This article discusses how to remove ear wax with candles.

Since its buildup of wax can lead to ear pain and infection, it is necessary to remove wax from the ear. Although inserting a candle into the ear seems a little weird for some, to many others, it is a preferred way to get rid of wax buildup in ears and issues like ringing in the ears, etc. Though there are no scientific proven reasons for ear candling, many people have experienced its benefits and many are still thinking to try or not.

How to Remove Ear Wax with Candles?

How to Remove Ear Wax with Candles?

Ear candles are sometimes also referred to as auricular candles or ear cones. These are made up of linen or cotton tightly bound together by dipping in wax into the cone shape, which can be easily inserted into the external ear canal.

The candles used for the purpose of ear candling are hollow from inside and these are fabric cones, soaked in paraffin or wax. Their length is nearly 10 inches. Cut a paper plate from the center by doing a hole of the candle size. This ensures nothing falls over the face.

During an ear candling session, a person has to lie down on the one side with the ear, which needs to be treated, facing up. The pointed end of the candle is inserted in the ear and the other end is lighted by keeping a paper or foil plate in the center of the candle. The practitioner safely keeps removing the burnt material during the session. After a few minutes, when the candle burns off and reaches more close to head the session finishes and the ear is wiped off properly with a cotton ball. The same process is then repeated for the other ear.

Does Ear Candling Work?

As per the professionals who do it time and again, ear candling is effective in suctioning out the waxy substance via the hollow cones or candles. It builds a low-level vacuum, which softens the earwax and pulls it out of the ear along with all impurities.

Although, there are few myths attached to ear candling. The main includes as per the professionals who do ear candling after the hollow candle burns out the waxy substance is trapped inside the candle claiming the session is complete with cleaning the ear. However, critics believe that it is just the candle byproduct or remains after burning the candles, which come out in the hollow space.

Many people believe in the ear candling effects and claim it can help in treating sinus pain, vertigo, otitis media, sinusitis, etc. Even the candle manufacturers claim that the candle smoke dries out the external ear canal and triggers the natural excretion of the ear wax, parasites, debris, and dead cells, etc. Unfortunately, scientific evidence is not there to support such claims. Still, ear candling is benefiting some people who promote it and are continuing with it.

How Safe is Removal of Ear Wax with Candles?

How Safe is Removal of Ear Wax with Candles?

As per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or FDA, ear candling keeps the burnt candle very close to the face and is dangerous with a high level of uncertainty of risk involved. Studies suggest that it can cause more harm than good if not done by the professional with a lot of care and vigilance.1

Although the professionals are experienced enough, certain precautions are necessary in order to avoid any dripping wax entry into the ear by using paper or foil plates or even with towels or cloth as extra protection. If not done in an appropriate way, ear candling might also cause some serious harm to the ear. Also, it is risky to keep holding a lighted candle so close to the face being inserted in one ear. The flame or even the melting wax can burn the skin or even hair. Candle wax might also slip into the ear while dripping down. It can even clog the passage and affect the hearing capacity. The eardrum can also be affected by the hot melted wax dripping inside the ear.
Studies have reported various ear injuries resulting from ear candle use.2 Some of the potential risks involved during the ear candling session include:

  • Deposition of wax in the ear
  • Eardrum perforation can also happen due to hot melted wax or even blockage of the canal
  • Loss of hearing
  • Otitis externa
  • People with tympanic membrane issue must not try candling without doctors consultation
  • Kids are delicate and must not go for ear candling since there are more chances of risks with them.

So it is always best if the method of ear candling is only done by some trained professionals to avoid any chances of harming yourself by doing it yourself. Even better would be consulting a specialist physician for your ear problems or taken an opinion before considering to remove ear wax with candles.

The FDA has not given any sort of approval for ear candling especially for medical purposes. It does come with warnings from the FDA to the manufacturers to stop candle importing for this purpose.

However, still, ear candling is massively used as an alternative approach for ear wax removal, since it claims that by lighting one end of the candle suction is created which pulls out the ear wax with ease.


The supporting evidence for the effectiveness of ear candling is less. Apparently, risks appear more like chances of burns or damage to skin or ears, etc., especially if not handled properly. However, still, there are clinicians who do it favoring it as an impactful method.

Earwax serves as a protective role and it helps in cleansing and lubricating the ear. It also protects the ear canal from all sorts of bacterial and fungal infections. The natural self-cleaning system helps in ear wax removal on its own. So, most of the people do not require any additional ear cleaning that too using any equipment, etc.

Certainly, awareness about self-hygiene has made people conscious about ear cleaning. So ear candling is the commonly used method to clean the ear and prevent any blockage, ringing, hearing loss, etc. Now that you are aware of how to remove ear wax with candles and about its safety, you can make an informed decision. Consulting an ENT specialist is the best option when in doubt to pick a perfect and safe way of minting ear hygiene and during the presence of any abnormal symptoms.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 6, 2022

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