About once a month, I have a patient with ear canal and/or eardrum damage due to using an ear candle in an attempt to remove earwax.
I even have on occasion patients who I thoroughly remove earwax under the microscope, who than go home, perform an ear candle, and inform me of all the "earwax" that I missed.
Well... I've decided to make a video (see below) illustrating how ineffective ear candling is in removing earwax as well as how it could be even harmful. The other aspect of this educational video is to show how misleading ear candling is when it comes to earwax.
Please note that we are aware that the "official" way to use an ear candling is small end down into the ear, but for this video, we have elected to use it the way most "lay" public would (small end up).
[SPOILER ALERT!!! A burning ear candle actually creates debris that looks like earwax. As such, an ear candle "works" whether it is in the ear or not.]
Ear candles: Efficacy and safety. Laryngoscope 106 (10): 1226–9.
Ear candling: Should general practitioners recommend it? Can Fam Physician 53 (12): 2121–2. PMC 2231549. PMID 18077749.