#1 – Ear Candling
I remember when I was a little younger and a lot more adventurous.
A friend of mine, who had recently returned from a trip to India, brought over some sweet honey smelling candles for removing earwax.
Let the fun begin…
We would take turns lying on our side with one of these conical “Ear Candling” candles stuffed in our ear and surrounded the bottom with aluminum foil.
Then, we’d light the top of the candle and wait for it to ‘magically’ draw wax out of our ears.
When the candle was burned up we’d take it out and marvel at the gobs of (what appeared to be) earwax that accumulated at the bottom.
We were amazed…
Years later, I entered the hearing healthcare industry and learned how dangerous this procedure can be.
To this day I still have clients ask me my opinion on Ear Candling.
My advice?: DON’T DO IT!
Here are 3 reasons why:
- Having a flame burning so close to your hair is generally a bad idea – for obvious reasons…
- It does NOT pull wax out of your ears. It’s simply not physically possible. And the wax that appears after the procedure is not ear wax. It’s wax, of course, but just candle wax.
- If you get a hot piece of candle wax spattering into your ear, it can actually burn hole into your eardrum and cause serious health problems (like infection) and permanent hearing loss.
Here’s a video of Dr. Christopher Change, E.N.T. running a little experiment on the subject.
So that’s the first worst way to clean your ears.
#2 – The Wax Vac
The second, and equally silly method is a revolutionary new product that took the AsSeenOnTV world by storm.
Yup, it’s the famous “Wax Vac”. And, in my opinion it’s a total crock. I’ve personally tried it and it just doesn’t work.
I don’t think anyone can do serious harm with the Wax Vac, but it IS pretty noisy (though it’s billed as being quiet) and if you’re going to keep it running in your ear long enough for it do remove any wax – you might be getting some hearing damage from noise exposure.
As far as I can tell, they’re still selling like hotcakes! It might make a good “gag” gift for someone but that’s about the only value you might get from it.
What’s the 3rd worst way to clean your ears?
If you guessed the good ol’ Q-Tip, you’re right!
#3 – Q-Tips
I’m sure we’ve all heard from our doctor that you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.
That’s good advice.
No matter how skilled you are, you are probably going to push any excessive ear wax deeper into your ear with a Q-Tip. Over time you’ll end up compacting it into a nice hard, deep plug of wax that’ll have to be removed by a professional.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that you can end up puncturing your eardrum if you go in too far with it.
A lot of people tell me they just use it at the entrance of the ear canal to remove superficial wax or to dry their ear after a shower. That’s reasonable and I doubt you’d do any harm this way.
I know there are a lot people who get wax out of their ears just fine with Q-Tips but they probably don’t have an excess of wax built up.
If a client tells me they have been using Q-Tips for years without incident (and their ear canal is clear and healthy) I’d say they are a responsible user of Q-Tips.
So, if you use them responsibly, I’d say, “keep doing what you’re doing – just be careful!”
The Safe Way to Get the Wax Out of Your Ears
How can you remove ear wax safely?
Simple: Consult your doctor or hearing professional.
We have the advantage of being able to look into your ear (I’m guessing you can’t) and assess the best way to remove it. It’s what we do. Let us do it for you.
If you think you might have a wax build up, give us a call at our office: 604-528-8884.
Take advantage of our Free 30-Minute Consultation and let us have a look at your ear so we can advise the best course of action.
To your health!
– Jamie Larsen