The Left Brain responds:
For those of you who might not be familiar with this pseudo scientific practice, ear candling is the process of cleaning out ear wax and other stuff by “sucking” it out using heat from a burning candle. A hollow candle is burned with one end in the ear canal to allegedly create negative pressure to draw cerumen (aka ear wax).
According to sites like Earcandles.net it works like this: the smoke from the candle spirals down into the ear where its warmth gently dislodges foreign debris, softens old ear wax and helps evaporate excess moisture. Unfortunately, a search of peer reviewed literature on PubMed indicates that Ear, Nose and Throat doctors have evaluated this technique and found that it does not work. Worse than that, it can actually damage your ears!
Ear candling calamity
According to the references cited below, the efficacy and safety of ear candling were studied and results showed that contrary to popular believe, ear candles do not produce negative pressure that can draw out wax. (This part of the study was done by tympanometric measurements in an ear canal model.) In addition, a limited clinical trial on eight ears showed no removal of ear wax. In fact, in some cases, candle wax was actually deposited. Finally, a survey of 122 otolaryngologists revealed 21 ear injuries that resulted from ear candling. The conclusion of the authors was that ear candles have “no benefit in the management of cerumen and may result in serious injury.”
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Like Kinoki Detox Footpads and Kangen Water, ear candles are another scam that doesn’t work. But this one can actually harm you. Even if you’re a smiling 10 year old boy wearing a dress shirt and vest.
Laryngoscope. 1996 Oct;106(10):1226-9. Ear candles–efficacy and safety. Seely DR, Quigley SM, Langman AW. Spokane Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic, WA 99204, USA.
Why Ear Candling Is Not a Good Idea, Lisa Roazen, M.D.