It’s not what you may be thinking! Chances are you are thinking of ear candling when you think about a natural remedy for earwax. For those of you who don't know what this is, ear candling is an old practice where people place a hollow candle over the ear with the head on its side. The thinking is that a vacuum like pressure from the “chimney” effect of the burning candle will basically suck earwax out of your ear.
Some folks that have received this procedure describe it as a very pleasant, warm, comforting, nice experience. I think another reason people are attracted to ear candling is because it seems like a natural remedy.
However, because there are mixed opinions, I often get questions about my recommendations. The first thing to keep in mind is that ear wax is your friend and actually there is not much to remedy. You see a lot of people think of ear wax as something that is dirty, but it's not.
It is there for a reason. It protects your ears. Occasionally it will not drain as it should leading to impaction and possible hearing loss. In this case it is best to have your physician look in your ears and make suggestions. Normally though, the best natural remedy for your ears really is your shower and a washcloth.
Simply washing the outside of your ear is all that is usually required.
Back to ear candling. Why is it not recommended?
Number one, there is not good research showing evidence that it actually does what is claimed. It really doesn’t seem to suck wax out of the ear. What is often thought of as earwax in the candle is just burnt candle wax. Second, there is risk of injury! Wax from the candle can fall in and burn your eardrum.
I know this is a little bit of a touchy subject since some people have done it and have enjoyed the experience. However, in the best interest of giving an honest opinion that I think is healthy for people, really the best natural remedy is your washcloth and your shower. At Nanaimo Hearing Clinic are always happy to have a peek in your ears and see if there's anything excessive that we might send you to your doctor for. We can even let you have a look yourself with our video ear camera.