Earwax certainly isn’t a pleasant substance to look at. It’s ranked up there with the contents of your cold- and flu-encrusted tissues.
But however gross-looking earwax appears, it’s actually an important and protective body function you should appreciate.
What Is Earwax?
Many people think earwax is dirt, but it’s a substance made from dead skin cells, dust, and secreted oils. It’s important stuff that we shouldn’t mess around with.
However, sometimes the earwax processes go wrong, usually aided by us sticking things in our ears that shouldn’t be there—such as a Q-tip—which leads to a buildup of earwax.
An earwax buildup is medically termed “cerumen impaction,” and it creates hearing loss, dizziness, and pain.
If you’re experiencing these ear-related problems, you might consider the ancient practice of ear coning.
What Is Ear Coning?
Ear coning is an alternative approach to removing earwax, one that doesn’t require a trip to the doctor. It’s carried out at home quickly and simply with an inexpensive earwax cone.
How to Use Earwax Cones
Earwax cones are hollow fabric tubes soaked and hardened in beeswax, paraffin, or soy wax. They measure around 12 inches long and are tapered at one end.
To use an earwax cone, lie on your side, place the small tip in your ear, and light the wide end. Some earwax candles are sold with a plate that fits halfway along its length to prevent wax or ash from dropping onto your face or running into your ear.
Manufacturers and fans of earwax cones say the warmth from its flame creates a gentle suction vacuum that pulls wax and debris from your ear into the tube.
At the end of the process, which usually takes around 15 minutes, the earwax cone remains can be cut lengthways and the extracted debris examined. There is often a lot of debris in the cone that’s dark and lumpy.
Is Ear Coning Safe?
Ear coning was practiced by the Ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Aztecs, and Greeks, and there are plenty of current ear coning clips on YouTube telling us how effective and simple it is.
But wait before you give ear coning a try because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns it can be dangerous and can potentially damage your hearing.
The FDA is so sure of its stance on earwax cones that it’s acting against the manufacturers, seizing their imports, issuing warning letters stating they have no FDA approval, and asking users and medical professionals to report adverse effects.
Pros of Ear Coning
Lots of people claim ear coning is an alternative treatment that helps problems affecting their ears, nose, throat, and sinuses.
They suggest that the warmth and smoke created by wax cones clears your head of impurities and reduces associated stress.
Here are the potential pros of ear coning.
Cons of Ear Coning
The Food and Drug Administration warns people to avoid ear coning, as it comes with these risks.
What about Earwax Cones for Children?
Medical professionals tell us we need to cut down on our use of antibiotics to stop the progression of superbugs, but children are frequently prone to ear, nose, and throat infections.
So, is ear coning a preventative home treatment that could help children with regular ear infections?
The FDA states that earwax cones are not appropriate for children, despite manufacturer instructions stating they are.
This is because a child’s ear canal is not fully developed, and this places them at more at risk of internal injury.
Children are more likely to move during the process, too, which exposes them to burns and candle wax entering their ear canal.
Does Ear Coning Actually Work?
There are plenty of ear coning supporters, but there’s no scientific evidence that ear
candling actually removes anything from the ear canal.
What studies do highlight are the dangers of ear coning, such as an increase of wax, eardrum perforation, and hearing loss.
Some studies present evidence that suggests the vacuum claimed to suck earwax from the ear canal is not strong enough to pull out sticky wax and may not even exist.
The debate is rife over whether debris found in earwax cones after use is actually earwax or just the remains of beeswax and fabric used to construct the cone.
It’s worth noting that no medical studies have found earwax in an earwax cone after use.
How to Remove Earwax
If you have a problem with earwax, there are simple ways to remove blockages—and ear coning isn’t one of them.
These methods work slowly on the stickiness of earwax and lubricate the ear canal so that the wax naturally falls from your ear.
If oils and softening drops don’t ease your symptoms after a week or so, step away from the earwax cones.
A buildup of wax that won’t shift with oils means it’s time to see your doctor, who can carry out simple and safe flushing to remove it and ensure that there are no underlying medical reasons for your symptoms.
https://www.verywellhealth.com/ear-candling-88287 (this article is linked in the original under another domain)