To Candle or Not to Candle…

To Candle or Not to Candle……

That is the burning question!  There is no pun intended but there are major risks associated with candling.

Ear candles are 10 inch long hollow cones made from a fabric soaked in beeswax, paraffin or a mixture of the two.  Many advocates of the ear candling procedure claim that it removes cerumen and “impurities” from the ear canal as well as achieving relief from sinus and ear infections, improving hearing,  brain function, curing cancer and “blood purification. However, health professionals have identified numerous, serious risk factors associated with candling.  In addition to the obvious risk of skin burns from the flame, there have been reports of injury to the ear from dripping wax, bleeding, puncture of the ear drum, plugging the ears with candle wax and extended delay in seeking medical care for underlying conditions.

Furthermore, in February 2010, the FDA posted a notification to consumers and healthcare providers warning them not to use ear candles because of their likelihood of causing injury.  Special concern arises when advertisements appear that advocate ear candling on children. Have you ever tried to get a child to sit still for more than a few seconds? The risk of injury certainly increases.

According to Richard Rosenfeld, MD, who led the Guideline Development Task Force, “approximately 12 million people a year in the U.S. seek medical attention for impacted or excessive cerumen”.  He further reported that nearly 8 million cerumen-removal procedures are performed annually by health care providers.  Proper and safe removal of cerumen can be provided by a physician, audiologist or nurse that has been trained on the procedure.  Several of the typical symptoms associated with the presence of cerumen are hearing loss, dizziness, ringing in the ears, fullness and itching (all of these symptoms are usually temporary).

If you have questions concerning the status of your external ear canals in regard to potential cerumen build up, call one of our audiologists today!

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