Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ear Candling

The Issue. Ear candling is an alternative practice that proponents believe will help remove ear wax. The practice of ear candling has recently become popular as an alternative therapy. Some promoters say it is an ancient treatment that can cure a number of medical problems. However, ear candling is dangerous, and has no proven medical benefits.

Background. An ear candle is a narrow, hollow cone that has been soaked in beeswax or paraffin and allowed to harden. The patient lies on his or her side while someone else inserts the point of the cone inside the ear. The top of the cone is then set on fire and left to burn for a few minutes.

The promoters of ear candling claim that the flame creates warmth and suction, which draws ear wax out of the ear canal. They say that ear candling can cure a wide range of medical problems, including ear aches, sinus infections, sinus pain and pressure, and vertigo.

No Medical Benefits - but Lots of Risks. There is no scientific proof to support claims that ear candling provides medical benefits. In fact, laboratory tests showed that ear candling produces no significant heating or suction in the ear canal. There is plenty of proof that ear candling is dangerous. Ear candling poses a risk of fire. It can also cause serious burns and other injuries if hot wax drips into your ear, or onto your skin or hair. There have been reports of several cases of injury. A report published in the medical journal Laryngoscope said, "ear candles have no benefit in the management of cerumen (ear wax) and may result in serious injury."

Problems reported among the group using ear candling included:

-Burns to the ear, skin, and hair from the hot wax

-Obstruction of the ear canal due to wax dripping into the ear

-Perforated ear drum

-Temporarily lost hearing

Is Wax Removing Necessary? Ear wax has a protective role. It cleans and lubricates the ear, and can protect the ear canal from bacteria and fungus. The ear has a self-cleaning system that naturally removes ear wax. Most people do not require additional cleaning. However, a breakdown in this self-cleaning system can cause a condition known as cerumen impaction. Cerumen impaction affects some people and can cause reversible hearing loss, dizziness, and ringing in the ears. Physicians are required to treat cerumen impaction.

How You Can Protect Yourself. Certain types of medical devices require a licence from the government, and in fact, many governments ban the selling of ear candles. So, avoid ear candling. It is dangerous and it provides no medical benefits. If you are concerned about ear wax, then ask your doctor about safe and effective ways of cleaning your ears. They are qualified and well-trained to do it, indeed.

1 comment:

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