In this article you will learn what ear candles are exactly, where they come from, when they can be used and when it is best not to use them. If you want to get the advice of an expert on the best way to clean ears you can visit the next Amplifon clinic for a free consultation.
Ear cleaning cones arise from the rediscovery of a traditional method of ancient origin for ear hygiene which allows you to remove impurities and excess wax present in the ear canal using the so-called chimney effect. Today, however, its use appears to be of dubious effectiveness. Let's analyze why.
The ear candle is intended to relieve pressure in the ear. Lighting the ear candle creates a draft in the ear, which creates a slight overpressure. As soon as half the candle has burned down, the air current rises, relieving the pressure. This can cause various side effects, including:
The changing pressure conditions are intended to promote blood circulation in the ear and stimulate the lymph flow. In addition to this, the negative pressure should pull the earwax out of the ear canal. The pressure equalization is said to have a relaxing effect on your entrie body, slowing your breathing rate and your pulse.
When using ear candles, you should not be alone and you should always get a second person who can help and prevent injuries or accidents. Here are the instructions for the correct use of the ear candle:
In ear candling therapy, special candles are placed in the patient's outer ear canal and then lit to remove earwax and dust particles from the ear canal.
During the so-called chimney phase, excess pressure builds up in the ear, opening clogged pores, improving skin respiration and transporting waste and secretions inside the candle. The pressure conditions in the head are also regulated, which should lead to better coordination of the two halves of the brain.
Removing earwax with a candle is particularly useful in the wellness area. Through the tubular opening, the descending heat leads to negative pressure in the ear. This is done to pull the earwax up through the filter, thereby cleaning the ears .
In fact, the resulting negative pressure in the ear is so low that it is not strong enough for earwax to be sucked up into the funnel. An ear candle alone will not cleanse the ear, but it can help to relax and prepare the ear for further cleaning.
The ear candling effect has a far-reaching health effect and does not result in any side effects. It is also often used to treat tinnitus, as the slight negative pressure (chimney effect) and vibration waves caused by the flames act like a gentle eardrum massage.
The stimuli are transmitted to the middle ear all the way to the inner ear, with a direct effect on the organs of hearing and balance. The therapy leads to relaxation in the ear thus reducing the symptoms of tinnitus .
An ear candle can also help with a cold or ear pressure as well as with a mild earache. The ear candle acts on the zones of the lymphatic pharyngeal ring via the auditory canal. This promotes blood circulation, lymphatic drainage and the immune system and thus helps against colds and ear pressure.
During treatment, the patient may feels a pleasant warmth and a liberating equalization of pressure in the ear, forehead and sinus area. The resulting negative pressure can also loosen water in the ear. Caution is required in the case of an acute ear infection, since in this case no ear candling therapy should be used.
Various methods can be carried out to eliminate earwax, including the use of special oilcloth cones which, placed directly at the entrance of the external auditory canal, remove the earwax through a sort of suction, after they have been lit. The wax cones, about 20 cm long, have two open ends:
The narrower end, equipped with a disc that serves to protect the skin from dripping hot wax, should be placed directly at the entrance to the ear canal, taking care to tilt the head from the side opposite the ear where the cone is inserted. The wider end is to be lit like a candle. The heat released by the combustion of the waxed cone softens the earwax, at the same time creating a depression inside the ear: in doing so, the earwax is sucked outwards.
However, the use of wax cones for ear cleaning is not very reliable: the "cleaning" mechanism of candles is not clear. The most important risk deriving from this treatment is that the wax residues are deposited directly in the external auditory canal or even on the tympanic membrane. The risk of burning the skin around the ear or burning the hair should also not be underestimated.
According to experts, ear cleaning can be done in a simple and effective manner using lukewarm water or spray products that facilitate the elimination of wax particles and scales produced by the ear canal. The removal of earwax plugs, however, is a procedure of medical competence for which it is necessary to consult a hearing specialist.
ENT doctors warn that ear candling, despite proper use, can be dangerous for the user. Potential risks include burns to the face, pinna, ear canal, or middle ear. In addition to this, the hot candle wax can clog your ears or even injure your eardrums. Not to mention, the use of the ear candle can increase the risk of a potential fire.
Ear candles should be avoided if you have the following health conditions:
In these cases, we suggest you to go straight to an ear, nose and throat doctor and seek treatment.
Are you experiencing a decrease in your hearing ability or would like to get advice on your overall hearing health? Take a free hearing test in one of our Amplifon clinics with one of our hearing specialists.