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Do Ear Candles Work? Hopi Ear Candling, A Popular Treatment

Ear Candles Don't Work, Not Just That, They are Actively Dangerous

There seems to be a real fad for hopi ear candling at the moment. It is claimed that it can do everything from removing ear wax, through relieving sinus pain all the way to stopping tinnitus apparently. The tinnitus one was new on me, to be honest, but when someone asked me in the clinic today if ear candling was the right thing to do for relief of their tinnitus I asked where did they get that idea? They showed me, it was on the Internet, so it must be true! Well, it's not, let's talk some sense, ear candling doesn't even remove ear wax, let alone anything else. Let's talk hopi ear candles. 

Ear candling

What are the Claims About Hopi Ear Candles?

So first, let's take a look at what they are supposed to be able to do, there are a lot of claims made about ear candles, it seems the only things they don't do is feed the poor or bring about world peace. This list is not exhaustive but it is everything I was able to find up to the point that I could no longer tolerate the rubbish. 

  • relieve sinus pressure and pain (honestly how?)
  • cleanse the ear canal (afraid this one is proven rubbish)
  • improve hearing (probably based on the fact it removes ear wax, which it doesn't)
  • assist lymphatic circulation (it's magic, that must be it!)
  • regulate pressure (????)
  • purify the mind (sorry but hahahahahahaha)
  • strengthen the brain (????????)
  • relieve pain and fever associated with a ruptured eardrum (do not put a lighted candle in your ear with a perforation, in fact don't put anything in your ear with a perforation unless told to by a doctor)
  • cure swimmer's ear and other ear infections (don't do it!)
  • relieve earaches (nope, just nope!)
  • sharpen the senses of smell, taste, and color perception ( are we talking about LSD infused candles?)
  • stabilize emotions (because having warm wax fall on your face is just what you need to make you calm)
  • stop tinnitus (ringing in the ears) (this really makes me mad, nope, nope, nope)
  • help TMJ pain and stiffness (magic!)
  • relieve vertigo (????)
  • fortify the central nervous system (more magic)
  • purify the blood (just hahahahahahaha)
  • act as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, or antibiotic ( magic I tell you, magic!)
  • cure Meniere's syndrome (not a chance, again a serious problem that needs proper care)
  • aid sinusitis (how, tell us. we are fascinated)
  • release blocked energy ( ................)
  • reduce stress and tension (honestly, has anyone fallen asleep yet?)
  • cure auricular zona (a herpes zoster infection of the ear) (Herpes zoster is a nasty one that needs treatment with anti virals)
  • open and align the chakras (can someone show me where my chakras are, I definitely need them aligned?)
  • open the spiritual centers and cleanse the auric bodies (hahahahahahaha)
The only thing that Hopi Ear Candles can't do is feed the poor and bring about world peace!

Researching this piece was enlightening, the claims made for these candles are just outlandish. Some of them are just plainly ridiculous and they have no basis in scientific fact. Nor do they providers of the service try to provide any factual basis for the claims they make. Normally I would have little interest in this sort of thing, however, when sham practitioners make claims about serious illnesses it is time to start balancing out the rubbish. Before I go on, if you think you have excess earwax and you are determined to try a natural home remedy, you should consider a solution of hydrogen peroxide which you can read about here

Tinnitus is Not To Be Taken Lightly

Tinnitus can be a serious problem for some people, it can have a dramatic effect on their life and well being. They will try any possible treatment angle that makes a claim if it seems even vaguely true. The same can be said for Menniere's. The desperation to seek help and or reassurance is just manipulated by these ridiculous claims. Tinnitus is a symptom of an underlying problem, normally it is a symptom of underlying hearing loss, however, sometimes it can be a symptom of something serious. Sticking a candle in your ear and setting it on fire will not help you in any way with relief of tinnitus. 

Any tinnitus that is causing real problems in someone's life needs to be properly investigated. There is no cure for tinnitus right now, however, there is an effective treatment. The claim that ear candling can help may be based on the fact that ear wax removal can often lead to an abatement of tinnitus. This is true, but only in the case that the tinnitus is caused by the ear wax blockage. Removing the blockage relieves the tinnitus. However, here is the real catch, ear candling does not even remove ear wax, that is the simple truth. So, to the question, do hopi ear candles help or cure tinnitus, the answer is no. 

The Claims About Ear Wax Removal

It is claimed that the act of burning the candle softens the ear wax and produces a vacuum which sucks the ear wax out. In any and all scientific testing of this, it was found that it doesn't. Think about this clearly, ear wax solid enough to block an ear tends to be old and relatively hard. You would need a huge amount of vacuum to suck it out in this way. That vacuum would also burst the eardrum in the process.

Micro-suction ear wax removal uses vacuum to remove wax, however, it is a controlled vacuum which is only powerful enough to suck wax out when it is in direct contact with the wax. We don't just stick a hoover in your ear and hope for the best. If you are looking for ear wax removal, go to a professional.

But Where Does The Residue Come From?

At the end of your ear candling treatment, you are shown the results of your ear wax removal with all of the dirt and impurities. Many people ask where does that come from? Yes, they just burned a cotton tube soaked in beeswax, probably going to be some residue from that, you think? In all the scientific studies the residue was shown to be part of the candle and nothing else.

Where Do Hopi Ear Candles Come From

Who knows? There are varied claims about ancient Egyptians, native Indians and Tibetans, the only people I didn't see was Aliens. Again, any claim is scant on evidence. That kind of sums them up in their entirety really, scant on evidence. 

Will Ear Candling Remove Ear Wax?

Hell No! The only thing you are doing is putting yourself at risk, the risk of fire, burns to the face, ear canal or eardrum and middle ear injury to the ear from dripping wax. Plugging of the ears by candle wax, bleeding, perforation of the eardrum and finally delay in seeking needed medical care for an underlying condition. In fact, the FDA has this to say

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.

Personal Experience

I have never had any personal experience with ear candling, but I know a man that has! One of our associates Paul Nand underwent ear candling many years ago. Before he attended he took images of his ear canals showing ear was blockages. After he attended he returned to his practice and took more images. Funnily enough, the ear wax blockages were still there. Nothing had changed. 

As succinctly as possible, ear candles are balderdash, rubbish, a scam. They don't work, they actually physically can't work and anyone who says they do is either self-deluded or outright looking to take your money. If you have an ear wax buildup, have your earwax removed by a professional with a recognised method. It is safer for everyone involved and it will mean that your ear wax will actually be removed. 

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Posted by

Geoffrey Cooling

Geoffrey Cooling

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Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry for over ten years. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him

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