ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ear Candling to Remove Wax: the Dangers and Risks

Updated on May 4, 2012

The Origins of Ear Candling

The Hopi people (along with other cultures around the world) have a long history of ear candle use, to cleanse the spirit of negativity during traditional rites. This ancient ritual has been adopted by Western alternative medicine as a virtual panacea for many medical ailments. Brought to the consumer market by the White Egret company, ear candles are said to alleviate sinus pressure, improve hearing, improve lymphatic circulation, remove earwax, cure earaches, and stop tinnitus, among other health claims.

There are many supporters of the ear candling tradition, who honestly believe it "cleanses" the ear and promotes overall health by creating a gentle suction to remove impurities from the middle ear. The practice has gained popularity as a non-medical way to treat many ear and sinus problems, but does it work?

Ear Candling Danger

Ear candling does not improve hearing or clean the ear, and has caused severe burns to the ear in several notable cases.
Ear candling does not improve hearing or clean the ear, and has caused severe burns to the ear in several notable cases. | Source

Scary Thought: Many Practitioners Learn from Youtube Videos

Candling Claims vs. Facts

It is beyond the scope of this article to address every single claim given by candling practitioners. A few of the most common claims are examined below:

Candling Claim #1: Candling relieves sinus pressure and pain

The sinus cavities are not connected to the ear in any way. Candling proponents claim a gentle vacuum is created, which helps relieve sinus pain: since the ear is not connected in any way to the sinus cavities, this is impossible.

Candling Claim #2: Candling improves lymphatic circulation

The middle ear is not connected to the lymph system in any way. The candle wax remains in the external ear canal, and does not affect the lymph system.

Candling Claim #3: Candling improves tinnitus

Tinnitus has many causes, including sensorineural hearing loss, TMJ disorders, aspirin use, otosclerosis, and earwax blockage. Candling will not cure any of these problems, including the earwax blockage. In fact, candling may create an ear canal blockage when candle wax gets left accidentally in the ear canal.

Candling Claim #4: Candling removes earwax

Candling practitioners claim that candling creates a gentle vacuum to draw out ear wax and other impurities. Carefully designed studies have demonstrated that the pressure of the middle ear is unchanged during the candling process: no vacuum is created. In addition, many practitioners show clients the wax after the candling process, which is gray and "dirty." This wax has been examined and has shown no traces of earwax or other bodily impurities. The waste candle wax is simply a combination of ash and wax, which appears dirty to the client.

Candling Claim # 5: Candling will purify the blood

Hot candle wax poured into the external ear canal does not come into contact with the client's blood. There is no way to draw out systemic impurities by adding melted wax to a person's ear.

Clients Harmed by Candling

The United States Food and Drug Administration has uniformly decried the use of ear candles, as there is no scientific evidence they are beneficial in any way, and many injuries have been reported.

The list of injuries caused by candling includes:

  1. Burns to the head, neck, face, and hair.
  2. Burns to the external ear canal and tympanic membrane.
  3. Perforation of the tympanic membrane (eardrum).
  4. Hearing loss.
  5. Obstruction of the ear canal.

Regulatory Actions Against Ear Candling

The FDA has written many warning letters against ear candle manufacturers. The manufacturers have had to revise their package claims, and now state the candles are for entertainment purposes only, and that the product is not meant to cure or treat any disease. Unfortunately, many alternative health websites still list these claims, and sell the ear candles to unwitting customers.

The FDA's Official Stance on Ear Candles

Healthy Alternatives to Ear Candling

For chronic sinus infections or ear problems, see an otolaryngologist, or Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (ENT). These doctors specialize in ear and sinus health, and will be able to point a patient to safer natural methods. Many ENT physicians recommend the use of neti pots to clear sinuses as a natural and effective cleansing method.

Debrox is an earwax softener that is available over-the-counter and is safe for most people (individuals with tympanostomy tubes or any other eardrum perforation should not use any product in the ear without consulting a doctor first).

Seeing a physician is paramount to good health: serious conditions should be ruled out and  effective, safe therapies can be obtained.

An Expose on Ear Candling


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)