Does Ear Candling Work? Here is the Truth…

Looking for the best, safe ear wax removal methods? You may be worried that your ears are getting dirty, or you’ve noticed a build-up of wax. If you’re concerned, you may be considering a number of ear-cleaning methods (cotton swabs, warm oil, and so on).

Ear candling is a practice you’ve no doubt heard of (from friends and family, but never from your doctor), and one you’ve considered trying. Slow your roll! Before you give it a try, there is a lot you need to know about ear candling at home.

In this article, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What is ear candling?
  • Does ear candling work, or it is just another hoax?
  • Are there ear candling side effects? If so, what are they?
  • Is ear candling safe?

It’s all about finding the right way to clean your ears, so read on to find out everything you need to know about ear candling at home…

What is Ear Candling?

What is ear candling really? According to Wikipedia,

“Ear candling, also called ear coning or thermal-auricular therapy, is an alternative medicine practice claimed to improve general health”.

Step 1

Take a hollow candle and insert one end into your ear canal.

(Already sounding pretty scary, right? A candle in your ear?)

Step 2

Light the other end of the candle.

(Even scarier! A lighted flame near your ear – WHAT????)

Step 3

Let the heat travel down the hollow part of the candle to melt your ear wax.

(Not liking the sound of this! Our ears are so sensitive and delicate – how can heat be good for them?)

Step 4

Allow the ear wax and toxicants to drain out.

(This is the only part that sounds right!)

Sound like a safe, healthy remedy? Read on to find out more…

Ear candles (hard to believe something like this actually exists!) are made from cloth and are soaked in either paraffin or beeswax. They are designed with a narrow funnel at one end, and the other end of the candle (the cloth part) is lit.

When the fire burns, the heat travels down the hollow tube of the candle into your ear, where it melts the ear wax. Supposedly, the heat creates a vacuum, sucking the ear wax out through the tube.

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There are A LOT of websites and retailers that promote the use of ear candles. You can find hundreds of places to buy them – both off and online. The literature that promotes it refers to the Hopi Indians, the Mayans, the Egyptians, and even the Tibetans.

Their goal: to get you to buy their ear candles.

But if you were to read scientific content (medical studies, journals, etc.), you’d find that the tone is VERY different!

According to Audiology, ear candles are both ineffective AND dangerous! The site debunks a number of false claims and myths about the practice:

1. Ear candles do not create a vacuum to pull residue from the ear canal. The heat may help to melt the wax, but there is no vacuum created that will “suck” the ear wax out. Studies dating as far back as 1996 prove that ear candling doesn’t do anything to get rid of the ear wax – only melts it.

2. Melted ear wax won’t simply “drain away” through the inner ear. The eardrum stops anything from getting through, including ear wax. The only way the ear wax can go is out!

3. Ear candling is not as safe as you might believe. In the next section “Eat Candling Side Effects”, we’ll take a look at a few of the VERY REAL dangers of this ear cleaning method!

The big question here is “Does ear candling remove wax?” The answer, sadly, is: heck, no!

According to WebMD, doctors have run tests and discovered that the residue present in the ear candles after burning is NOT ear wax, as originally believed. Instead, it’s just the residue of the burned beeswax or paraffin.

There is no proof that the ear candling actually removes the wax once it is melted by the heat.

Ear Candling Side Effects

Is ear candling safe? As you’ve seen above, it is not anywhere near as safe as ear candle peddlers want you to believe.

The FDA is very clear on the subject, stating:

“FDA has received reports of burns, perforated eardrums and blockage of the ear canal which required outpatient surgery from the use of ear candles. And a survey of ear, nose and throat physicians published in 1996 in the medical journal Laryngoscope reported 13 cases of burns of the ear, seven cases of wax occlusion of the ear canal, and one case of a perforated eardrum. The authors of this study also reported that the burning ear candles dripped candle wax on the eardrum of the test subjects and in a model of the ear.”

Here are some of the VERY REAL ear candling side effects to know about:

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You’ve got an open flame near your face and hair, and there is melting wax dripping from the burning candle. It’s no surprise that there is a serious risk of burns to your face and hair.

However, the burns can extend to your ear canal, inner ear, and eardrum. The sensitive ear just isn’t built to take that much heat!


You think an ear wax plug is bad? Imagine what happens when melting candle wax gets into your ear! That is not an easy plug to get out.

Eardrum Perforation

Inserting a candle is definitely not the way to go, as there is a very real chance that you will perforate your eardrum. The result could be bleeding, swelling, and hearing loss.

Inserting ANYTHING into your ear is taking a risk!

These ear candling side effects are no joke! Ear candling can be quite hazardous to your health, so it’s not the best practice. Worst of all is the fact that you’re not seeking help for what could be a very real problem.

If you’re using an open fire to solve your ear wax problem, it probably means that you have a serious plug or wax buildup. Instead of getting safe, effective professional help from your doctor, you’re opting for a potentially foolish at-home method of ear wax removal.

If you’re looking for a safer method of ear cleaning, check out the options below…

The Safe Way to Clean Ears

Don’t run the risk of injuring or damaging your ears by ear candling! Find a safer at-home method to deal with ear wax.

Here are a few options for safe ear wax removal:

Mineral Oil

Warm up some mineral oil and place a few drops into the ear. Let it sit for a minute to melt the wax, and turn onto your side to let the softened ear wax drip out.

Warm Shower

Hold a warm, wet washcloth on the blocked ear or, take a warm shower. Let the water gently flow into the ear. Use the tip of a warm washcloth to remove the softened wax.

Don’t use cold water. This may cause dizziness.

Oto Tip

This product by Clear Ear offers a safe, effective method for cleaning your ears. If you need to clean your ears regularly, you’ll find it’s the best way to go.

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Learn more about it by clicking on this article

Take care of your ears, but be safe about it!

As you can see, ear candling is NOT the way to go. It can be hazardous to your health and damage your ears, so it’s best avoided. Instead, look for other, smarter methods of getting rid of excess ear wax.

Your ears are very delicate instruments, so you must take good care of them!

19 thoughts on “Does Ear Candling Work? Here is the Truth…

  • Well I have used ear candles quite a bit in my lifetime and honestly I WOULD recommend it to people that are having issues. I use aluminum foil around the area the candle will be, also you only burn the candle half way so that you don’t chance burning yourself or your ears. Be smart about it and it works great.

    • Seriously though, looks like this whole post is just a way to promote their own product over an alternative that has worked for centuries. WebMD always has found ways to make natural cures look bad and harmful with their biased case studies.

    • I have been doing this for years. I have issues with wax building up a lot and conventional methods do work nut they leave me completely off balance for up to two say a. Using candles I can control how quickly to remove the wax and stop nineteen to make sure it is not hoing to make me fall over which it dud once in a hospital room when the doctors used a water pic on me. The pressure from the water had my ears in pain for a few days and ny ears got waterlogged on top of it.

    • I have been using ear wax candles forever and I love them!! My exhusband who is in the military used them when he came home from over seas we would use them and it pulled sand along with the wax from his ears. So you can’t tell me they don’t work.

      • Hi Tabitha

        Thank you for your message and your feedback. There are many, many people who have used ear candles successfully, however, as the FDA recommends against their use due to some serious injuries, we don’t feel that it would be right to go against their expert advice.

        Regardless, I’m glad that you and your ex-husband have had good results from them.

        The Clear Ear Team

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  • I also have used ear candles and you do have to be safe about it, but it does create a vacuum and it does remove ear wax! The proof is in the candle when done. You can clearly tell the substance inside is ear wax and not wax from the candle. Yes there probably is a difference in quality of manufacturers but you never burn the candle close to your head where start actually feeling the heat and to where it would melt the candle wax in your ear.

  • I read this article to get facts, not someone’s bias opinion. How can I trust the opinion of an article that is so painfully against ear candles any more than I can trust the opinions of someone trying to sell me them? Also, using WebMD as a reference? The site that’ll say anything is cancer. Great source material guys.

  • This article is ridiculous. You would have to be a complete idiot to jam the candle in so far as to rupture your ear drum. And contrary to this and the WebMD report, it does in fact draw out ear wax. A 2 year old could tell the difference between ear wax drawn into the candle and the burned or melted candle

  • I’ve done the candles too but I also use a paper plates with a X cut out of middle of plate to slide candle thru to protect the head and hair. And I did see wax residue in the candle… Just have to be safe when doing it.

    • We use aluminum pie pans just due to the off chance any of the flame falls down and catches the paper plate on fire.

  • Ummm who would light the candle without something between the flame and your face? We always get an aluminum pie pan, cut a small x in the middle and stick the candle through it. Then put the skinny end in your ear. .. light the other. The pie pan catches anything that could fall off and burn you! And yes this method does work… We have used it for years and it does a great job.

  • I have tested this by putting a burning candle in a short glass. It has the protective silver foil. I never count the yellowy chunky stuff as wax. However I did see the same deeply dark material and water-yellow stains that previously I took as wax, but no ear was involved! Maybe there was a bit less blackish (deeeep brown) stuff than usual but it was still there all the same. In addition from some smokey output there was a greasy film at the bottom of the glass. I have used these a number of times now and never noticed any particular benefit, unlike 2% hydrogen peroxide which can have immediate clearer hearing beneficial affects (not always). I think ear candles are fake.

  • I have had ear wax problems for over 25 years now. Syringing is now incredibly painful and I would now consider it dangerous. I even found myself refered to hospital to have the right ear vacummed. This lead to tremendous dizziness and nausea, followed by an hour to finally recover. Trying other remedies, none have worked. By the way, wax doesn’t take a couple of minutes to soften and certainly does not drain while lying on your side. Nor does putting water in your ear very helpful! And you call yourself professionals? I’m going to try the Hopi candles. Because I cannot stand the thought of having my ears prodded and poked by a metal tube squirting water at high pressure, and sometimes cold, even after telling the nurse it was cold! Try the alternatives folks!

  • I have used ear wax candles for many years. I would highly recommend them. I use them once or twice a year. When My ears start to get itchy and start to get this blockage of feeling like there full of water, that is when I usee them. Wax doesn’t fall from them and it takes about 20 mins to a half hour to burn. I can hear the suction of wax being pulled out. After I’m finished, I open them to see how much ear wax has been vacuumed out. Amazing how much wax comes out and how much better I feel. I wouldn’t recommend doing them daily, weekly or monthly because the wax in our ears do protect our eardrums but once or twice a year is good.

  • Well I just had candle wax removed from my ear drum today! It was very painful, bled a bit, I hope to get relief from troubles this has caused for years. I used to use ear candles for myself and family. I believed they worked well. Some of the stuff removed from ears of first time users was impressive. However one time hot wax ran down the center of the candle and my ear drum took a direct hit. I’m thankful I had a glass of ice water on the table next to me and immediately poured it in my ear. The pain when that wax hit was horrible. That was 7 years ago. 6 years ago I saw 2 different specialists and they could not remove it. Since then I’ve suffered constant tinnitus, slight hearing loss, and frequent pain. I always thought the candles were great until that happened. I now have to wait for my ear to heal a bit a see if the tinnitus, etc. improve. I wish I could still do it but I’m just too nervous now…the pain and damage was not worth it. I will say this on candles, it was a cheaper variety that caused the wax drip….they were out of the better quality ones that I usually purchased. I liked the heavier cloth/beeswax candles. If you are going to candle, at least have water at the ready as it probably saved me from far worse ear damage. ♡

  • I used an Ear Candles as a last resort to remove trapped water in my ear (which was causing a painful Ear infection for a week.) My first attempts at using warm mineral oil, warm showers, peroxide & rubbing alcohol did nit help at all. I am happy to report that after using the Ear Candle (and an aluminum pie pan) safely that the blockage of water went away immediately and my ear infection was gone within 12 hours.
    Folks, don’t listen to all the scientific bull… in the article above. Someone is paying them off to discredit these simple but effective Ear Candles. I don’t understand the science behind them but they really work! Ear Candles will be my “First” line of defense in the future.

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