Every so often I get asked about the effectiveness of ear candling for the removal of ear wax. Experimentation with various methods has led me to the discovery of a better way to remove ear wax.
Based on my personal experiences with ear candles I can say the following:
1.) Learning various stories about the history of of ear candles was interesting. “Google” it.
2.) Ear candles used to be made with paraffin (a carcinogenic).
3.) After ear candling I remember feeling remarkable mental clarity and a physically clearer head.
4.) One experiment I conducted myself involved candling my own ears and at the same time burning a free standing ear candle for the same length of time. I found that wax was present in both candles in proportionate amounts when they were cut open. My conclusion was that the wax, which “looked” like earwax inside both candles, was actually melted wax from the burned candles. NO EAR WAX! Others have done more elaborate experiments attempting to prove or disprove the efficacy of ear candles. In my professional opinion, ear candles are in no way good for removing ear wax. I’ve found that the faithful have many arguments to the contrary.
Ear Cleansing With Hydrogen Peroxide
I’ve been using the following procedure with hydrogen peroxide because it is safe and reliable for removing ear wax, even wax obstructions that totally occlude the ear canal causing hearing loss. This concise article explains how I use hydrogen peroxide to remove ear wax.
Warning! The following procedure is intended to be performed on a healthy ear. If you have a history of ear problems, have experienced a recent injury to your ear or ear drum, or if you are experiencing sharp pain your ear, see a doctor immediately! If you have any apprehensions or questions about the procedure call me or consult a competent health care professional.
1.) Get the hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide found in your medicine cabinet is most likely at a 3% concentration. This is suitable for ear wax removal without the need for further dilution. Hydrogen peroxide can be purchased at any supermarket inexpensively if you don’t have it on hand.
2.) Ideally, a dropper would be helpful in the application process. If you don’t have a dropper handy, cotton balls will suffice.
3.) Find a bulb syringe for rinsing. If you don’t have one you can be creative or skip rinsing if you don’t have an obstruction.
4.) Find a place to lie down and relax for 10 – 20 minutes.
* Note: In accordance with Chinese Medicine doctrine the ideal temperature for most liquids taken internally or applied externally is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (body temperature) but is not reasonably significant for this application. Room temperature peroxide will work.
While lying comfortably on your side, use a dropper or soaked cotton balls to put enough hydrogen peroxide into one ear to fill the ear canal. Very shortly thereafter you will hear the crackling and popping sounds caused by the oxygen bubbling off as the ear wax is dissolved. Let the peroxide bubble for up to 2 to 10 minutes. Massaging the outer portion of the ear will help to break up large deposits and obstructions. When time has elapsed, turn to allow the liquid to drain onto a washcloth or paper towel. You may or may not notice pieces of ear wax coming out. Larger pieces may float to the top to be expelled while smaller amounts of ear wax may have dissolved. The only way to check for certain is with an otoscope.
Rinse the ear with WARM water from a bulb syringe (if you have one). Repeat as necessary to remove a wax obstruction. Conduct the same procedure on the other side.
* Note: Otoscopes can be purchased online relative inexpensively, i.e. the Doctor Mom Otoscope, and come in handy if you have children and know what to look for. (A future article will be published on what to look for when you have an otoscope.)
Cleaning your ears with hydrogen peroxide can be done as needed. You can repeat the treatment daily for a couple of days in a row until your ears are clear if the first round does clear the wax. If hearing problems or irritation persists, consult your doctor. If you have excess wax accumulation on a frequent basis, you may have an imbalance related to “dampness” in Chinese Medicine terms. If frequent and abundant ear wax is present with any of the following symptoms I suggest contacting a TCM practitioner to make an appointment for a complete evaluation: headaches, nausea, vision problems, dizziness, memory problems, heavy sensation in the head or limbs.
Warning! If you suspect you have an ear infection, perforated ear drum or have any other problems with your ears, consult a medical professional before trying any home treatments.
Warning! It is very, very important to make sure that the ear canal is as dry as possible and protected from cold air and drafts which could result in an ear infection. Allow enough time to air dry completely. Put cotton balls in the ears if you must go out in the cold or wind. Children are particularly susceptible to ear infections of this type.
* Note: I have heard that flushing the ear with alcohol after peroxide treatment will speed up the drying of the ear canal. I’ve never tried it. As soon as I have some data on that, I’ll pass it along.
Special thanks to His Holiness The Dalai Lama for lending an ear.