Dangers of Ear Candling
People who are misinformed talk about the dangers of ear candles and that ear candles may hurt. (oh, and by the way they are NOT illegal!)
Contrary to all of the media hype from Quack Watch, the FDA, and any of their many other minions, ear candles do not hurt. Have there been incidents from ear candles? Yes. However, these incidents appear to be a result of either user error or a poor quality and improperly made ear candle.
The headlines are fascinating: Ear Candles: Risk of Serious Injuries, Burns and other Risks. Reports in the National Center for Biotechnology Information and Drugs.com mention the 1996 Laryngoscope findings of injuries caused by ear candles. While twenty-one injuries were reported, there have never been releases on those injuries, no follow-up with the patients, nor were the injuries ever submitted to the FDA for consideration. The “study” was actually a questionnaire sent to ENT doctors to see what their history and experiences with ear candles had been. There was no proper scientific study done.
- Starting a fire
- Burns to the face, ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear
- Injury to the ear from dripping wax
- Ears plugged by candle wax
- Puncture of the eardrum
- Delay in seeking needed medical care for underlying conditions such as sinus and ear infections, hearing loss, cancer, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. (TMJ disorders often cause headache and painful sensations in the area of the ear, jaw, and face).
Let’s explore these concerns:
Starting a fire: If you have ever tried an ear candle that is made properly, you would discover that it takes a bit of an effort to light it. It is not as flammable as the FDA would have you believe. And, how could you start a fire, if you were following the instructions? If you had another person with you, watching the candle burn and removed the ear candle at the burn label (which all candles should have), how could it start a fire? Now, if one was ear candling alone in bed and fell asleep … well, sure. That could lead to a fire. But that is just like cigarettes and household candles, isn’t it? At some point, we have to apply common sense in our daily lives. Apparently, the FDA thinks that we have none.
Burns to the face, ear canal, eardrum and middle ear: There have been approximately 6 Adverse Events Reported (AER) to the FDA. Out of these AER’s, arises even more controversy, in particular was the ear candle used properly.
Let’s examine at these AER’s.
- The AER dated April 12, 2002 is a complaint against Lee’s Ear Candles. The report states that ear wax candles are dangerous for use. The ear candle may not have worked according to plan but there is no mention of any injury. This is actual a Product Problem Report not an Adverse Event Report. I don’t see an actual problem but a speculation when reading the report.
- In AER dated August 21, 2006, a patient reported a “burning sensation in her right ear” from using Wally’s Ear Candles. Upon a one week follow up, “the tympanic membrane was examined and a perforation was identified”. In laymen terms, the eardrum was looked at and a hole was found. How do we know that the person didn’t have a hole there before? There is no way of telling whether the candle caused the hole without proof that no perforation was there prior to ear candling.
- In the AER dated August 10, 2007, the person complained that a product was mislabeled and advertised to “cure sinusitis and clean earwax”. It also states that the patient was burnt but provides no details. I would think that if an actual injury occurred, more details would have been provided like in the other reports. This report was also not sent to the FDA nor the manufacturer. It makes you to wonder, doesn’t it?
- In the AER dated December 10, 2007…Injury to the ear from dripping wax. It appears that the boyfriend of the woman who filed the report had hot wax drip into his ear and burn a hole through his eardrum. That is very unfortunate. No ear candle should drip wax into the ear. That is why safety tips inside properly made ear candles are critical. They insure that wax cannot drip into the ear.
- In the AER dated December 7, 2008… Ears plugged by candle wax: This unfortunate incident not only blocked the person’s eardrum, it burned it too. The person stated that they followed the manufacturers’ instructions. It sounds like a poorly made ear candle to me! Again, a properly made candle will not drip wax into the ear. That is why safety tips are critical. They insure that wax cannot drip into the ear.
- In the AER dated November 25, 2013, a patient’s mother was using an ear candle on her child. The wick of the ear candle fell into the child’s right ear causing 2nd degree burns to the lobe and outer canal. So the wick did NOT fall into the child’s ear as indicated in the report.
This is a perfect example, however, of why it is so important to use the proper raw materials when manufacturing ear candles. Only the ash of an ear candle made with paraffin or 100% beeswax would be able to fall off and burn anything.
An ear candle with high quality food grade wax or a proper blend of super clean/filtered beeswax that is double wrapped would never fall off. If it did for some bizarre reason, it would not burn anyone.
If someone is using a properly made ear candle, you could literally pick the ash off of the candle while it is burning as the high quality food wax burns itself off.
Now back to the other “claims”…
Bleeding: I can’t even begin to imagine what would cause bleeding so no comment here. I’m not one to speculate. If this were true, why was there no report filed or any follow up?
Puncture of the eardrum: It appears that in an AER dated August 21, 2006, a patient felt a burning sensation in her right ear. In the initial exam, there appeared to be wax and a perforation was identified. Again, it appears that this was the result of wax dripping into the ear which does not happen with a properly-made ear candle with a safety tip.
Delay in seeking medical care: That is never good in ANY situation or with any product whether natural or chemical.. Ear candles are used for relaxation and to help the body heal itself but should never be used in replacement of medical care. Seek medical advice if you have an infection, hearing loss, cancer, TMJ…any health condition for that matter.
Here are the questions we need to ask ourselves when thinking about what happened in the AER from November 2013. People tend to more often than not blame a product, another person, timing, luck… for issues that occur. As terrible as it is that a child was burned, was it user error or a poorly-made ear candle?
- Did the mother use a paper plate or covering of any type, which, in general ALL ear candle manufacturers and plenty of videos on the internet clearly show to use?
- Did the mother use a candle that did not require trimming to avoid any accidents? Not necessary to do if the candle is properly made. As a matter of fact, we do not suggest it as that could actually cause an injury – too much moving around…
- Did the mother use a candle with the proper type of wax so that IF the wick somehow did fall, there would be no burn?
As you can see, this simple example leads to so many questions. Yet, there was no investigation. The ear candle in question was not submitted to be examined but yet the FDA draws the conclusion that all ear candles are dangerous. What is more dangerous: the ear candle itself or the user that may or may not have followed instructions? Or the neglect of the manufacturer to ignore common sense and use only the best raw materials available versus the cheapest on the market?
It is a fact that ear candles can and do drip wax into the ear IF the ear candle is made improperly and does not have a good safety tip.
Wally’s Ear Candles have had several law suits pertaining to this exact issue.
White Egret has also had liability claims. Even Kansas Ear Candles had on their website to always angle the ear candle to avoid wax dripping into the ear!
However, we have discovered an ear candle company with no liability claims of injuries for the entire 25 years they have been in business. This company, Harmony Cone Ear Candles, uses a high quality food-grade wax, burn line labels, and is the ONLY company in the USA to use a patented safety tip.
When experimenting with these ear candles, we found that the ear candle:
- burns much cleaner leaving little to no residue inside the ear candle
- increases the energetic vortex and its effect upon the reflexology points inside the ear
I will end here with a parting thought. Look at the statistics on the top of the page. With over 70% of Americans on prescription medications and over 750,000 deaths a year caused by them, it really puts into perspective what is truly dangerous out there. Big pharma does WAY more harm than natural products like herbs or ear candles can and will ever do. One can argue that crossing the street is dangerous just like driving a car or hoping on a plane. Does that mean that we shouldn’t cross the street or drive to work or take that dreamy vacation in the Bahamas and keep taking those meds?
For additional reading on FDA matters, visit Natural News.