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DOCTOR AT THE DESK

What's an Ear Candle?

"The lowdown on ear candling"
By: Lourdes Nena A. Cabison-Carlos, MDWhat's an Ear Candle?

Ear candling is a fast-growing trend in the Philippines. Also called ear coning or thermal auricular therapy, it is an alternative medicine practice which supposedly removes earwax and toxins.

This procedure involves inserting one end of a cone of waxed cloth in the patient’s ear. The opposite end of the cloth is then lit and the flame supposedly creates negative pressure which draws wax and debris from the ear.

The US FDA, however, strongly warns against the use of ear candles because it can cause serious injuries. Injuries listed by the US FDA include burn, wax occlusion, and perforation of the tympanic membrane. Furthermore, no scientific evidence has been found to support the safety or effectiveness of the said procedure. Children of any age, especially babies, are at an increase risk of obtaining injuries and complications owing to the smaller size of their ear canals. For impacted cerumen, your doctor can instead prescribe you with an ear solution or refer you to an ENT for suctioning and irrigation.  

So there we have it. The gist: it is best to remember that we should not insert anything inside the ear canal. And if that ear wax is starting to itch, better ask a medically trained professional for advice. 

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