Ear Candles: A Triumph of Ignorance Over Science

J Laryngol Otol. 2004 Jan;118(1):1-2.

Ear candles: a triumph of ignorance over science.

I have had patients in the past tell me that they have used ear candles in a variety of situations and circumstances. I have heard of patients using them to remove ear wax that has built up or debris that has fallen into the ear. I have certainly had my doubts about this simple procedure that is usually performed at home. When I took at look at what the research says about ear candles and its usefulness, the evidence is clear. 

In this review of the literature available, Ernst E., the author, states in the abstract the following...

Ear candles are hollow tubes coated in wax which are inserted into patients' ears and then lit at the far end. The procedure is used as a complementary therapy for a wide range of conditions. A critical assessment of the evidence shows that its mode of action is implausible and demonstrably wrong. There are no data to suggest that it is effective for any condition. Furthermore, ear candles have been associated with ear injuries. The inescapable conclusion is that ear candles do more harm than good. Their use should be discouraged.

With regards to ear candles, I discourage their use. The ear injuries that the author is referring to is the debris from the burning candle above the resting ear falling into the ear canal causing burns and sediment to collect over the ear drum, also called the tympanic membrane. I understand that these are readily available on online stores and at natural grocery stores. These ear candles can cause more harm than good as mentioned in this review and therefore should be avoided. 


Yours in health,

Dr. Troy Ryan, DC, MS

High Caliber Chiropractic, LLC

Parker, Colorado

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