Has Anyone Tried Ear Candling?

Updated on January 12, 2016
J.J. asks from Lancaster, NY
14 answers

I have a lot of ear wax and I hate getting my ears flushed through the doctor's office. Plus they make you use that ear wax softener for 4 days which usually makes my ears ring. Our healthcare plan is so expensive that if you step foot in an office (even for a nurse procedure) it's $50.
I'm thinking about ear candling. I've read pros and cons... has anyone tried i? It only costs about $30-35 based on a few local places I've researched.

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answers from New York on

I agree with B. Looks dangerous! Have you been to an ENT? I hear (no pun intended) that they remove wax buildup much gentler than a primary care physician.

Good luck! And remember, some of that wax is there for a reason.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

When my husband was absolutely desperate once, we sought out ear candle supplies at the local health food store and tried it.
1) You can burn your house down. Really. It can happen. It is very easy for things to go horribly, horribly wrong.
2) You can burn yourself. Really. And even if you don't, you can drip hot wax on yourself, or in your ear.
3) It doesn't work.
4) If you don't believe me, buy one, and burn it without doing anything else with it but holding it. It looks EXACTLY the same as it would if you stuck it in your ear. I did this after husband insisted we try in his ear first. They looked identical. And we were lucky nothing was caught on fire.

Husband produces a lot of earwax also. But it wasn't his problem. His problem was he couldn't hear due to fluid in the ear after a lingering cold. He can't work if he can't hear. He job depends upon it. Eventually, he just took sudafed (the kind you have to sign for that they keep behind the counter now), and it did the trick.

My son also used to produce copious amounts of ear wax. Since receiving immunotherapy for his allergies, he no longer does this. Only when he is sick/ill, or exposes himself to cats, does his ear wax production ramp back up.

Maybe you have some allergies? I only ask b/c no professional I've ever talked to about it seems to link ear wax production and allergies, but from what I've seen with my son (and my husband also has cat allergies), when his allergies to pollen/mold/dust/cats, etc kicks in, he produces a lot more wax. I don't do this, but I don't have allergies. Same with my daughter. Husband does. Other people I know have this same correlation (not sure if it's causative or not).

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Ear candling is a farce. It doesn't work. I have a family who gets a lot of wax build up. I take care of it at home.
Lie down and put some hydrogen peroxide in your ear and just let it bubble for a while. Make sure you have cotton balls on hand to tidy up any spill over or stuff that floats to the top. You can use one of those blue bulb syringes you get for babies or I bought an ear syringe from Amazon that I actually like better. Fill a cup with warm water, get a bowl to catch the stuff coming out of your ear and flush the ear out with the warm water in the syringe.
I do it all the time to myself and my kids. I even help my husband out when he needs it done. I was shown how to do it by the doctor. It's how they do it.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Ear candling is one of the biggest bits of quackery that you can buy.
It should be illegal - it's that bad.
It's DANGEROUS in SO MANY ways it's not even funny - and even if you do it exactly right - it's been proven by scientists that IT DOESN'T and CAN'T WORK.

Seriously? You think a tiny flame can create enough vacuum suction to suck the wax out?
There's a good reason we don't hook up vacuum cleaners to our ears - we'd rupture our ear drums and majorly injure ourselves.

If you think ear wax is hard to remove - think of hardened candle wax in your ear canal - it takes surgery to remove it - and that ain't cheap.



Instead, irrigate your ears like your doctors office would - you can do this yourself and do it safely.
I have this and clean my own ears (and my son uses it too).
I use slightly warm filtered water with like a 1/4 of the spray bottle of peroxide in it - and it cleans the wax out gently and completely.


7 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

i use peroxide for cleaning a plugged ear. and hot shower water does a daily cleaning without being dangerous. (let hot shower water flow into ear, give it a 5 count tilt head to drain and fill other side. another 5 count and move onto cleaning next body part)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Ear candling: "A triumph of ignorance over science."

If you have impacted wax you might have to start by getting it flushed and suctioned by the doctor. Warm oil (not candles) and/or hydrogen peroxide is the way to go at home. And once you remove the impacted wax, it doesn't take anything more to keep your ears clean than what R.K. says -- daily warm water, letting it stream into your ears for a time. That's what I do, and a couple of months ago when my doctor looked into my ears he pronounced them "immaculate."

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Like anything else, the amount of danger and the effectiveness varies based on the person doing the work.

There are some naturopaths, spas and so forth that do it with an experienced person and high quality candles. Anyone who claims it cleans the sinuses and the brain and all that is, of course, completely bogus. Any basic understanding of human anatomy should rule that out!

But having it done at home by an inexperienced person is dangerous. They can push the candle in too far, not control the flame, and so on. I've had it done professionally by a qualified person - in the sense of no damage and no danger of catching my hair on fire or ear damage - but I'm not sure it made any difference. I'm absolutely open to natural solutions to things, but I'm not sure this is it.

The quality of the candle makes a huge difference too - I've seen some at "health food stores" (which, by the way, are just as interested in making a buck as anyone else, and are full of products that aren't verified or from reliable sources - and that includes their vitamins and minerals). Some of those candles are so heavily dipped in wax themselves that additional wax is going to end up in the ear. There MAY be some value to having the warm smoke (from a linen candle with a very light coating of beeswax) channeled into the ear to soften the wax but there's no demonstrated value at all to the fragrances added to the linen candle material or the waxy coating. It's very difficult to get enough suction to remove much of anything, especially while pushing the candle too far into the ear.

There are ear wax softening products (drops) that can give a good start to the process, and then an ear bulb syringe can be used to flush the ear. But stubborn ear wax isn't going to soften with drops or olive oil the way a modest accumulation might, and a hand-held ear bulb isn't going to provide enough water pressure to flush things out. Doctors can use a water pressure machine (and the post below is correct that it's sort of like a Water Pik) but that shouldn't imply that people should use a pressurized Water Pik at home to try to do this.

I'd investigate why your ears are ringing from the softening preparation. Perhaps there is another product you can try, perhaps you have so much build-up that there's extra pressure, perhaps you should leave it in for a different amount of time. Maybe using something on an ongoing basis rather than waiting for a big build-up would help. But be careful about peroxide - it's not strong enough to work on a big sticky glob of wax and it's not going to get underneath it if the wax is packed in. Olive oil may or may not be okay - it probably wouldn't hurt but there were some big news reports about how many of the big brands don't actually contain any olive oil (just cheaper oils) so you have to verify that.

You might also cut your expense by doing a combined appointment if you are at the doctor's office for another purpose. There would be an additional charge (maybe) for the ear wax flush if you were there for, say, a physical or even a focused visit for a anything else (blood pressure check, medication adjustment, breast exam...you get the idea). But it wouldn't be nearly as much as if you went in for just that because they have to charge you a base rate just to walk into the room, as you say. So you wouldn't have two "room charges" if you know what I mean - just a possible add-on if it's a focused visit for 2 things instead of 1.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i tried pretty much everything when my boys were small. they inherited my easily-infected ears and both had multiple tubes put in. we didn't find candling effective at all. honestly, despite my frequent skepticism about the touching faith so many have in modern medicine, the ENT (we had a marvelous one) was about the only one who could help.
that being said, my younger son (now in his 20s) recently had a painful wax blockage over the weekend, and actually suctioned it out. i have to hope he softened it somehow first- but he was over the moon at the instant relief.
i dunno. i'm glad he feels better but am pretty hinky about him doing that sort of thing himself, KWIM? in your situation i'd make an appointment with a really good ENT and ask HER what sorts of preventative steps you can take to keep yourself out of her office. a really good one will be right there with you in wanting you to have to come in less frequently.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

We haven't tried ear candling, but I thought I'd share our experiences with other solutions in case it's helpful.
Two of my kids have problems with ear wax. They also both had tubes in their ears. I agree with Isn't this Fun - seems to happen more with people who either have problems with fluid draining from their ears and/or allergies from what we were told. I know this was the case with my best friend - she had to have ear wax removed regularly, and she had bad allergies.
This past week my child lay back in tub for quite a while (ears covered by the warm bath water). Afterwards, when I was drying her, a huge chunk of ear wax was visible so I removed it. I then was able to gently remove much more that was soft and easy to come out. Something about warming the wax to soften it and getting it to move around can help.
The remedy our family doctor gave us was to heat up a small amount of olive oil to just warm (never hot) and put that in their ears with a dropper. Let that soften up the ear wax. If we do that regularly we don't have a problem. It's when it gets hard that it sort of clogs the ear.
Flushing (think that's what it's called) I know can be very painful - my father in law had that done. I think it involves water but he felt the pressure was almost unbearable. Not sure what the deal was there but he would never recommend it.
Our family doctor also will scoop it out with a little cup like metal instrument when she checks out kids' ears. Our ENT specialist did the same - it's minute, but does the trick.
No one has ever mentioned the candling - and we've been going to ENT for years. I would have thought if it was helpful they would have mentioned it.
Good luck :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Daily treat with warm water showers, letting the water pour into the ear for a time.

Please don't use ear candles.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Yes, I tried it once and it did nothing. It was a waste of money. Having the doctor flush my ears is the only thing that worked for me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I've done it in the past and was actually going to order some candles for my son who has severe ear wax to try them for him. Yes they work! I've never had it done professionally, I've purchased the candles from health food stores etc and done it myself. Also, I used to volunteer in a hospital and once a child came in with severe ear blockage, and the doctor used an old-school Water-pic (those spray jets for teeth-not sure if they still sell them) and flushed out an enormous, black wad of dry wax with it...so softening your wax with heat in warm bath and then doing either of those should do it. The candles aren't terribly strong. They won't remove deep, dry, embedded wax, or heal infections..but they do remove quite a bit of wax in my experience.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Haven't heard of ear candling.

People might find this dangerous, but I've used ear pick/spoon to remove wax with success.



answers from Los Angeles on

For a few bucks you can decide for yourself. It's easy enough to do but do NOT try to do your own ears! Get a friend or your husband to do it. Keep a bowl/bucket of water close and be VERY CAREFUL. I've done this for my husband. He has teensy ear canals & used to have chronic ear infection. You don't need a professional to do it.

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