Ear Candles for Drying the Outer Ear?

It is the conclusion of experts in the field that ear candles are not only ineffective, but dangerous: "Why Ear Candling Is Not a Good Idea". Also see the research abstracts posted below.

Diver's with concerns about swimmer's ear are referred to DAN's "Alert Diver" magazine's latest article on the topic:

Preventing Swimmer's Ear

1. Laryngoscope. 1996 Oct;106(10):1226-9.

Ear candles--efficacy and safety

Seely DR, Quigley SM, Langman AW.
Spokane Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic, WA 99204, USA.

"Ear candles are a popular and inexpensive alternative health treatment advocated for cerumen removal. A hollow candle is burned with one end in the ear canal with the intent of creating negative pressure and drawing cerumen from the ear. If effective, significant savings could result from the use of ear candles. This study evaluates the efficacy and safety of this alternative method for cerumen management. Tympanometric measurements in an ear canal model demonstrated that ear candles do not produce negative pressure. A limited clinical trial (eight ears) showed no removal of cerumen from the external auditory canal. Candle wax was actually deposited in some. A survey of 122 otolaryngologists identified 21 ear injuries resulting from ear candle use. Ear candles have no benefit in the management of cerumen and may result in serious injury."

2. J Laryngol Otol. 2004 Jan;118(1):1-2.

Ear Candles: A Triumph of Ignorance Over Science. Ernst E.

Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, Exeter, UK. Edzard.Ernst@pms.ac.uk

"Ear candles are hollow tubes coated in wax which are inserted into patients' ears and then lit at the far end. The procedure is used as a complementary therapy for a wide range of conditions. A critical assessment of the evidence shows that its mode of action is implausible and demonstrably wrong. There are no data to suggest that it is effective for any condition. Furthermore, ear candles have been associated with ear injuries. The inescapable conclusion is that ear candles do more harm than good. Their use should be discouraged."

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