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Cerumen is a fancy word for ear wax...

The Dangers of Ear Candling and Q-tips: Why You Should Seek Professional Help for Ear Wax Removal

Ear wax, medically known as cerumen, is a natural substance that plays a crucial role in protecting and lubricating our ears. While many people resort to using methods like ear candling or q-tips to remove ear wax at home, these practices can actually do more harm than good. It is important to understand the dangers associated with ear candling and q-tip usage and why it's essential to seek the assistance of a qualified professional for safe and effective ear wax removal.

Ineffectiveness of Ear Candling

Ear candling involves placing a hollow, cone-shaped candle into the ear canal and lighting it. The theory behind this practice suggests that the heat and suction created by the candle will draw out ear wax. However, scientific research has consistently shown that ear candling is ineffective in removing ear wax. In fact, it can push the wax further into the ear canal, leading to blockages and potential damage to the delicate structures within the ear. We have seen burns and carcinogen residue left in patient's ear canals and on their ear drums. You've probably heard about how much "bursting and eardrum" hurts...can you imagine how much a burn to the sensitive area of the middle ear would hurt?

Potential Hazards of Q-tip Usage

While q-tips are commonly found in households and may seem harmless, they are not intended for ear wax removal. Q-tips can inadvertently push ear wax deeper into the ear canal, causing blockages and impactions. Additionally, the use of q-tips can lead to minor injuries, such as scratches, which may result in pain, infection, or even damage to the eardrum.

Using a qtip to clean a ear canal
Ear Wax = Cerumen

Risk of Ear Infections and Damage

Improper ear wax removal techniques, including ear candling and q-tip usage, can increase the risk of ear infections. When ear wax is pushed deeper into the ear canal, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, potentially leading to painful infections. Furthermore, attempts to remove ear wax at home can cause damage to the sensitive structures of the ear, including the eardrum, middle ear, and ossicles, which can result in hearing loss or other complications.

Importance of Professional Expertise

Visiting a qualified healthcare professional, such as an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) or a certified and licensed physician is crucial for safe and effective ear wax removal. These professionals have the knowledge, skills, and specialized tools necessary to assess your ear wax situation accurately and perform the appropriate removal techniques. They can ensure that the procedure is conducted safely, minimizing the risk of complications and maximizing the chances of successful ear wax removal. Visit your family physician or a walk-in clinic for cerumen removal. Please, don't visit spas or practitioners who advertise this service without being regulated by a college; if an incident happens, or if they accidentally hurt you, they will not have the insurance required to pay for your medical bills or treatment!

Alternative Safe Methods

Instead of resorting to ear candling or q-tip usage, there are safer and more effective methods available for managing excess ear wax. Some of these methods include the use of over-the-counter ear drops, irrigation techniques under professional supervision, and manual removal by a qualified healthcare provider. By consulting a professional, you can receive personalized advice and appropriate care for your specific ear wax situation.

While the allure of quick fixes may be tempting, it is essential to prioritize the health and well-being of your ears. Ear candling and q-tip usage can cause more harm than good, potentially leading to infections, injuries, and hearing complications. To ensure safe and effective ear wax removal, always seek the expertise of a qualified healthcare professional who can provide the necessary care and guidance. Your ears deserve the best care, so make an appointment with a physician for a healthy and trouble-free auditory experience.

North Star Hearing Sells Cerumen Removal Kits

Stop into our clinic, Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm to pick up an Audiologist Choice wax removal kit. It comes with a syringe bulb and a special solution to help soften and remove ear wax safely. Available for pick up for $15 +GST. Please call us if you have anty questions! 780-533-3444


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