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Ear candling is mainly promoted for clearing earwax and harmful substances (toxins) from the ear, and for other conditions like swollen sinuses (sinusitis), ear infections, dizziness, or just pain. Some people use ear candling to promote clear thinking. Some practitioners go as far as to say ear candling can relieve headaches, and hearing loss.

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The procedure entails insertion of a hollow candle into the ear canal. The candle is lit and left in-ear for a while. When removed, a brown wax-like substance often appears within the candle.

The theory behind ear candling, is that the heat from the flame creates suction which draws the earwax into the hollow candle. The change in air pressure causes the release of ear wax from the ear, and the subsequent fusing with the candle.

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However, research shows that there is no reliable evidence that ear candling can remove earwax or treat other conditions. Skeptics claim that ear candling exposes the recipient to risks such as

  • starting a fire
  • burns to the face and ears
  • injury from dripping wax
  • ears being obstructed by the candle wax
  • bleeding
  • puncture of the eardrum
  • delay in seeking needed medical care for serious conditions such as sinus and ear infections, hearing loss, or even cancer.

If you do decide to use this therapy, experienced practitioners advise for having the procedure done by an experienced “candler. Another preventive measure is placing the candle through a hole located in the center of a plate, before being lit. The plate is supposed to protect against hot wax or ash coming down the side of the device and onto the recipient.

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According to experts, while the theory that heat can create a vacuum is accurate, the amount of heat produced by an ear candle is not enough to produce the vacuum force needed to remove ear wax. Even if it did, ear wax is not the cause of many of the health issues the procedure claims to remedy; ear wax (or cerumen) is beneficial, as it helps block bacteria and other unwanted particles from entering your ear.

In rare cases, ear wax becomes obstructive and causes a full blockage. In such a case, you would be better advised to visit a professional.

So, it would seem that it’s still safest to visit an ENT specialist, or otolaryngologist, for your ear issues. If you would rather use an alternative treatment, you should consider something that’s FDA-approved at the very least, like the EarDoc.

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