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The Myth of Ear Candling

November, 11 18th, 2015

Ear Candling (sometimes called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy) is an alternative medicine practice where one end of a hollow candle is placed in the ear canal and the other end is lit. As the candle burns down, the draft created by the fire supposedly draws out impurities in the ear. Practitioners of ear candling often point to the ashes left after the candle is extinguished as proof that impurities were extracted from the ear. 

Research has shown, however, that ear candling is not only ineffective, but also dangerous. The ash produced through the burning of the candle is actually ash from the burnt candle, not a substance extracted from the ear. Furthermore, ear candles can fill a previously clean ear with wax drippings, and lit ear candles, so close to skin and hair, have led to serious burn injuries in some patients.

In October 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued an alert identifying ear candles as “dangerous to health when used in the dosage or manner, or with the frequency or duration, prescribed, recommended, or suggested in the labeling thereof” ... “since the use of a lit candle in the proximity of a person’s face would carry a high risk of causing potentially severe skin/hair burns and middle ear damage.

In summary, EAR CANDLING IS NOT EFFECTIVE in removing ear wax. In contrast, EAR WASHING (ear irrigation) with ear washers, such as the Rhino Earwasher and Elephant Earwasher, IS an effective means of removing earwax. 


McCarter, et al. Cerumen Impaction American Family Physician, May 15, 2007