An ear candle is supposed to remove cerumen from the external ear. In addition to showing poor efficacy, its use can result in a number of complications.


An ear candle is a hollow candle that is inserted into the affected ear canal, which is pointing up. The candle is then lit, and in theory heat and suction will draw out the ear wax. This is nice in theory but usually fails in practice.


Potential complications in the use of an ear candle:

(1) failure of cerumen removal

(2) occlusion of the ear canal with candle wax

(3) thermal burn to the external ear canal

(4) other burns (to surrounding skin, hair, etc)

(5) infection

(6) perforation of the tympanic membrane


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