I Tried Ear Candling (So You Don’t Have To. Really… Don’t!)


Such a bad photo, I blame the hubs. He took it. Trying to hold a lit ear candle near your head AND snap a selfie at the same time proved to be problematic. (And no, I wasn’t surrounded by a black fog. It was hard to see the plate and candle so I added some shading around it in hopes you can see it better.)

If I asked someone to describe me using ten words chances are very good that one of those words would be loud, or a close synonym. No – I think that if I asked for just three words to describe me one would be loud.  I am loud. I hate it and I can’t help it. I am convinced it is due to hearing loss, which no doctor has been able to diagnose. Yet. They haven’t diagnosed it yet. I am only able to soldier on knowing that one day the medical community will profusely apologize to me for letting this hearing loss go undiagnosed for so long and thus my excessive use of volume will be vindicated. But until then I search for a cure on my own.

On my quest I have become convinced that I have excessive ear wax blocking whatever thing leads to the hearing area of my head region (I am not a doctor, but I am pretty sure this is close to the proper medical terms). Again, the doctors have checked and disagree but really, what do they know? I am on Web MD like 30 times a day. It’s in there. Q-tips, ear drops and home remedies from Pinterest (hydrogen peroxide solutions, olive oil… prayers) haven’t helped. So I turned to ear candles. Oh boy.

Ear candling, also known as ear coning, is represented through a myriad of contradictory descriptions on the Interwebs. It works. It doesn’t. It removes so much ear wax that you will vomit. It removes nothing. It is an ancient healing method that isn’t actually meant to remove ear wax. And on and on. You can do you own research like I did, this is my blog not a scientific report, so I say that’s plenty of information for you (see how I did that?). I just glommed on to the possibility that it may remove or loosen my copious ear wax and knew I had to try it.

Since I can barely even paint my own nails I decided I needed expert help for this project. My first attempt was to find an ear candlererer (I’m pretty sure that is the correct term for the profession) through Yelp, and luckily the Thai massage spot down the street said it offered ear candling. Disco! I walked in and, after discovering that the very kind receptionist did not speak English, I performed some sort of mime-charade hybrid that must have resembled a lit candle protruding from my ear because she said, “No ear. LA only.” I’ll spare you the details of the next few minutes of me mime-charading “WTF,” just know that I eventually realized that she was saying that there was a sister location in Los Angeles and that spot offered ear candling, not the one in San Francisco. By this point I figured that I had already exhausted way more energy than this entire quest was due, but once I start something I am like a dog with a bone. I wasn’t going to stop until I had fire in my ears, or however this thing was supposed to work.


Thank you to the Wally folks for making these gems! (Not to be confused with the world’s most famous Wally, Mr. Roy Wally, aka creator of Wally World.)

I proceeded on to my local health food store and voila, I found ear candles! I was not deterred by the small disclaimer on the box saying they were “for novelty use only.” In my mind that means that it just doesn’t have FDA approval or something like that… which only makes it more awesome. It MUST work because it doesn’t kowtow to strict government standards that dilute its inherit efficacy! Yes, sadly, that is how my brain works.

The folks at Wally’s Natural, the makers of my new magic sticks (which really looked like drum sticks to me once I took them out of the box), recommend you have someone help you with your candles because, well, they are on fire and in very close proximity to your head. Makes sense. My husband, who had been completely against this endeavor up until now, was suddenly very excited to help once he realized we were – literally – going to be playing with fire. Near my head. Did I mention that part?

As per the directions, we cut small circles in the center of paper plates and threaded the candles through the holes. We also had a bowl of water on standby for emergencies. Like if my head caught on fire. By this point my husband was giggling and rubbing his hands together in glee. I think he was actually excited at the thought that I may just end up on fire. 

So I placed one end of the candle in my ear and he lit the other end. It was weird at first, I admit, because I could hear a crackling sound and somewhat feel the air move through it (the candle is slightly hollow). After a minute or so I actually zoned out and started to relax. That is, until my husband recognized how very vulnerable I was and started to act like he was going to put peanut butter in my hair. Because really… who wouldn’t f*ck with their spouse while they have a lit candle coming out of the ear?

Ear Candles

To quote the lyrical geniuses Lil’ Kim and 50 Cent, “I got the magic stick.” But I’m pretty positive they weren’t referring to ear candles, though one never knows for sure.

The candle burned down to about an inch and we put it out in the bowl of water. Lather, rinse, repeat. We did the same with the second candle in my other ear, minus the pretend peanut butter attack, and we were done with the whole thing in under 30 minutes.

A lot of the videos and photos on the Interwebs show people unraveling the candle remains to look at what they claim is the removed ear wax. Guess what? It’s so obviously not ear wax. It’s just the candle. And really, wouldn’t you need a much stronger force to actually pull out said ear wax than a slow burning candle? Seems that way to me. So to answer the question I know you must be thinking (if you are even still reading), no, there was no removed ear wax in sight. 

I tried to stay optimistic, some of the online reviews I read said the candles more so loosen the wax than remove it outright, and over the following days and week you can expect the wax to basically fall out. But you’ll never believe this… that didn’t happen either! 

What did happen was this: I was out $9 for the candles, I wasted two perfectly good paper plates (we don’t have a dishwasher; those suckers are like gold around here!) and learned that if incapacitated, my husband will try to play a prank on me.

All in all I’d say it was a successful Sunday afternoon. I didn’t remove any ear wax but we had fun. So there’s that.

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