A 5000 year old ear wax removal treatment can't be wrong; can it? What to know about ear wax candles and why you should never, ever use them
Don’t get us wrong, this article is not here to rag on ear candles. They’ve been around in so many places for millenniums (Egypt, China, maybe North America with the Hopi Indians though the Hopi Indians have asked for people to stop calling them “Hopi Ear Candles“) But the fact of the matter is, that ear candles straight up don’t work.
As the FDA has stated, they are “ineffective” at best and “dangerous” at worse.
But lets get down to brass tax on these curious, cool, even spiritual little ear smokers. What’s the deal with them? What are they, what are their origins and why the heck are people still buying them even though they don’t work? (seriously, Albaba has over 700 different ear wax candles for sale while Amazon when the way of the FDA and restricted them from sale)
The Origins of the Ear Candle: Humble Mystery or... well, it actually is a bit of a Mystery
Alright, I scoured the internet (even going on Bing.com to get answers here. Ya, I like to live dangerously) and found so many different stories from so many different countries, it’s hard to figure out what’s what in the ear candling world.
Theres a really good article from audiologyonline.com that cites Ashby, C. A brief history of ear candling, stating, “ear candles date back to 2500 BC in ancient Egypt, where candles were made from flax (a plant by-product). Ashby also noted, production of ear candles may have coincided with the domestication of the honeybee and the availability of wax.” It seems about as credible as any other sources I could find. I mean, this article about How the whole “Hopi Indian” associating with ear candling being a giant marketing play/lie is pretty freaking fascinating. I guess there’s a lot of global money to be made in the ear candling game.
It’s become pretty obvious to me that part of the whole appeal of ear candling is the mystique around it; this ancient pseudoscience is the proverbial wheel of ear wax removal, always been there, no need to reinvent it. Oh man, I wish it was that simple. It would have been a lot more fun starting an ear candle business than convincing people to pour gooey carbamide peroxide in their ears than shooting a jet of water at their ear drums (Please buy our products!)
Seriously though, ear candling is crazy dangerous. For every article I’ve found waxing philosophical about its benefits, there are 30 articles like this one or this one or this one. Yikes, I can’t even tell you how bad I feel for that 4-year-old who, I’m certain, had no choice in the matter of whether she was using or not using an ear candle.
Ok smarty pants, ear candles are dangerous so what should I do instead? Buy our Products Obviously!
First off, you have some attitude mister. And ya, I’d love it if you’d buy a million ear wax removers and I could retire somewhere in the south pacific where drinks come in coconuts with monkeyfaces carved into them and my biggest concern each day is if I’m going to put on pants or not. However, the reality here is way more complex; should you use an ear candle? Not if you want to get ear wax out of your ears. Or avoid 3rd degree burns. But honestly, I think their pretty cool when it’s all said and done. I’ve lit a few to see what they are all about and they have a very naturalistic appeal to them I can’t totally explain in a blog about ear wax.
However, If your goal is to get a blockage out of your ear, your child’s ear, a parent’s ear or your partner’s, then you should go down the safe route; start with carbamide peroxide drops to soften the wax. If you don’t have that, go with hydrogen peroxide. If you don’t have that, vinegar. Let that stew for about 3 minutes.
Then it’s irrigation time. I highly, highly recommend using one of our irrigation devices for a plethora of reasons I highlight in our article, “Ear Wax is Gross! So do Something About it”
But honestly, if you’re ever in doubt, aka, if you’re in pain, or dizzy or just feeling discomfort in your ear, then get to the audiologist right away. Yes, we use the same products as the doctors but why risk it? If you take anything away from this article, it’s that your health is important and there is a ton of propaganda out there about how to take care of your health appropriately. Or forget all that altruistic nonsense and just buy a million ear wax removers so I can get rolling on my coconut/monkeyface collection.
Starting with this guy.
-Ed, Owner/Founder Cleanse Right