Ear candling is an alternative practice that is believed to treat several conditions including excess ear wax, earaches, and sinus infections. However, this old home remedy has no proven medical benefits and can cause serious injuries.
About ear candling
An ear candle is a narrow, hollow cone that has been soaked in beeswax or paraffin and allowed to harden. During ear candling, the person lies on their side while someone inserts the end of the cone inside their ear. The top of the cone is then set on fire and left to burn for a few minutes.
Some people think ear candling creates warmth and suction that draws ear wax out of the ear canal. Another misconception is that ear candling can cure a wide range of medical problems including:
- sinus infections
- sinus pain and pressure
- vertigo (dizziness)
Research shows ear candling has no medical benefits. It has also been proven that it does not create significant heating or suction in the ear canal. Worse, ear candling can result in serious injury.
It is important to report any incidents with ear candles or other medical devices by contacting your healthcare professional.
You can also report problems directly to Health Canada.
There have been several cases of ear injury in Canada caused by ear candling. Here are a few of the most common risks:
- nearby objects catching fire
- serious burns
- injuries caused by hot wax dripping into ears, or onto skin or hair
- candle wax blocking the ear canal
- punctured ear drum
- temporary loss of hearing
Selling or importing ear candles for medical reasons is illegal in Canada and the United States.
Reduce your risk
Avoid ear candling. It is dangerous and has no proven medical benefits.
Talk to a healthcare professional if you are concerned about ear wax or other conditions. Ask about safe and effective ways of cleaning your ears and treating any other conditions you may have.
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