Research: SEELY and colleagues, Spo

Listed in Issue 19


SEELY and colleagues, Spokane Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Washington USA studied and evaluted the therapeutic efficacy and safety of ear candles for the removal of ear wax. They write that ear candles are a popular and inexpensive alternative health treatment advocated for removal of ear wax. A hollow candle is burned, with one end in the ear canal, in order to create negative pressure and draw out ear wax from the ear. If this is effective, significant savings could result from the use of ear candles.



and RESULTS: Tympanometric measurements in an ear canal model demonstrated that ear candles do not produce negative pressure. A limited clinical trial with 8 patients demonstrated no removal of ear wax from the external auditory canal; candle wax was actually deposited in some of the ears. 122 otolaryngologists surveyed identified 21 ear injuries resulting from the use of ear candles.



Ear candles are not beneficial in the management of ear wax and may result in serious injury.


Seely DR et al. Ear cancles - efficacy and safety. Laryngoscope 106 (10): 1226-9. Oct 1996.


We invite readers and practitioners to reply with their own personal and/or clinical experience with ear candles, which are widely touted for the relief of a wide-ranging array of ENT problems.

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