Social networks are echoing a new "well-being" trend: cleaning your ears with a candle inserted into the ear canal. A practice that is not without risk


The device is used as follows: The candle, made of wax-covered fabric, fits into the ear canal while you are lying on your side with your ear facing the sky. The idea is to soften and bring up the earwax by the pressure difference generated by the ignition of the candle, or "chimney effect". Called “auricular thermotherapy”, this technique would be particularly interesting for getting rid of earwax plugs. On the internet, it takes 15 to 20 euros for 6 to 10 candles.

Unfortunately, this technique has drawbacks, starting with a risk of burns in the event of misuse, and the fact that the flame can come into contact with the user's hair. These ear candles, also called Hopi candles, are said to be ineffective. On the scientific platform PubMed, the vast majority of studies carried out on the subject of ear candles highlight their ineffectiveness and dangerousness. The most recent, conducted in 2012, reported an ear infection in a 4-year-old girl in New Zealand following the use of an ear candle. Another study, dating from 2004, believes that these candles do more harm than good and considers that “their use should be discouraged”.

On his website, Albert Mudry, otolaryngologist in Lausanne (Switzerland), considers for his part that “the major drawback linked to the use of these candles is not their ineffectiveness but the problems they can cause: contact eczema at the entrance to the external auditory canal, burns of the pinna or the external auditory canal, partial or total occlusion of the canal by accumulation of wax from the candle and even perforation of the eardrum ”. risks which are obviously not mentioned on the instructions or even in the advertisements dedicated to these candles, which also cause “deposits in the external auditory canal”.

 “I have already had patients who have used this device to remove pieces of earplugs that have fallen into their ear canal. The heat of the candle melts the product, which sticks to the eardrum. I had to anesthetize them to remove the fragments that had solidified on the eardrum and save the ear ”, depolored Dr. Jean-Michel Klein, ENT doctor and president of the National Professional Council of Doctors specializing in ENT and Cervico-Facial surgery (CNPORL), interviewed by Femme Actuelle.

This specialist also points out that the ear canal does not need to be cleaned thoroughly. Removing too much earwax can cause the ear to secrete more, which will create a vicious circle. Only the excess earwax that comes out of the canal and is visible at the pinna of the ear should be cleaned. In the event of an earwax plug, it is better to go to a doctor, who will vacuum or wash the duct with the appropriate tools.