Alternative Treatment – Ear Candling | By Kristen Decelles, Audiologist
WHAT IS EAR CANDLING?
“Ear Candling” is described as an alternative form of therapy designed to pull earwax from the ears or even prevent sinus infections. Some people trace its origins to the Hopi Indians and their spiritual healing beliefs.
HOW IS IT DONE?
Ear candling involves placing a tapered 10 inch candle into a person’s ear and then lighting the other end. Those who practice this believe that the flame creates suction that in turn pulls earwax and debris from the inner ear.
DOES IT WORK?
Many people who practice candling believe that all of the passages in the head are connected (which they are not) so clearing the wax buildup leaves the patient with a clean head. In addition to relieving sinus pain and pressure, candlers believe that the practice treats a host of conditions including Tinnitus, joint pain and even swimmer’s ear. No scientific studies exist to support these claims.
WHY IT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA
Audiologists will tell you – candles belong on the dinner table, not in your ears. Here are a few of the reasons you should not practice ear candling:
Putting objects in your ears can cause injury. The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer health update regarding ear candles, warning of this.
Potential injuries can include burns to the face, ear canal, or middle ear, damage to the ear drum or blockage of the canal.
Earwax is healthy! A normal amount of earwax is necessary. It provides a barrier against dirt and bacteria. It also acts as a moisturizer for your ear canal. Ear wax also repels insects – they don’t like the smell of it. Normally your body produces just enough to keep your ears healthy and excess is naturally expelled.
So use candles for dinner, in your pumpkin at Halloween or to create a pleasant fragrance in your home … and leave the treatment of your ears to an Audiologist or other medical professional.
Dr. Kristen Decelles is an Audiologist at St. Luke’s Cataract & Laser Institute. Hearing Services, – including hearing testing, hearing aid sales, treatment of Tinnitus and more – are offered at our clinics in Tarpon Springs, St.Pete, Tampa and Spring Hill. Click here to request a no-cost hearing evaluation.