My ear candle experience

I wrote this article seven years ago for my weekly newspaper column.  I’m a little embarrassed by the quality of writing so it won’t go on my website.  Fortunately, I have learned much over the years!   The reason I am posting it here is because it seems folks are always asking about ear candles, and it’s too much for me to recount my experience over and over.  Now, I can simply direct them here!

Last weekend I had my first experience with ear candles. Have you seen these? They are hollow cones made out of cotton fabric and dipped in beeswax. You put the pointed end in your ear and set fire to the other end. As the “candle” burns toward your head, the smoke creates a vacuum and sucks the wax out of your ear.

 I am not opposed to trying remedies of a different sort. Taking a more natural approach to things is very appealing from time to time. We have tried various herbs, vitamins and concoctions over the years. Once my husband heard that eating charcoal would lower his cholesterol. He eagerly made a doctor’s appointment, feeling sure that his cholesterol was sky high. Imagine his surprise and disappointment when the levels came back normal. No chance to utilize the charcoal remedy. 
So, when I heard about ear candling, I knew we had to give it a try. All those years of Q-tip swabbing have taken its’ toll. I know the hazards of impacting wax into the ear, and going to the doctor for irrigation (maybe that should be “ear”igation) is pretty low on my list of priorities. But imagine just taking care of the problem in the comfort of your own home.  
I went to the health food store and bought fourteen candles, one set for each member of our family plus a few extras. I decided to try the candling first since everyone else was a little apprehensive about having fire that close to their head. 
I cut a hole in an aluminum pie plate, stuck the candle through it and laid down on the couch. I placed the cone in my ear with the tin plate resting against my cheek. Hubby lit the other end and we all waited to see what would happen. In the T.V. screen I could see the reflection of the fire burning towards my head. It was quite surprising how tall the flames got! 
Every time the kids looked my direction their eyes would become huge and they would say “OH!!!” in very loud, surprised voices. This would startle me and I would look anxiously at my husband for reassurance that the only thing burning was the candle. 
The process took about ten minutes. When it was finished I got a pair of scissors and slit the end open. Inside was the most amazing amount of amber goo I have ever seen. I couldn’t believe all that wax came out of my head! The children were duly impressed. My husband was slightly disgusted yet intrigued.
After I candled the other ear, we did my son, oldest daughter and husband. My five year old opted out. She couldn’t bear the responsibility of lying still for twenty minutes so that nothing would catch on fire. 
As I struck a match to light the torch sticking out of hubby’s ear, I couldn’t help but laugh. “What?!” he mumbled from under the pie plate. “Well,” I said as I let the match hover above his head, “I was just pondering how some of our single friends think that married life is boring. They obviously haven’t seen the way we spend our Saturday evenings!” 
In all the excitement of chasing down floating embers before they caught in the curtains, I almost forgot about hubby. I noticed the flames were getting pretty close to his pie plate when I remembered I had emptied the water bowl. I ran to the kitchen for a refill and quickly doused the candle before the aluminum pan became too hot! 
After each candling we would slit the ends open and compare our wax amounts. It probably goes without saying that my son had the most. Eight year old boys tend to accumulate ear wax like the underside of my couch collects dust.
I went to bed convinced that my hearing had improved even though my ears were slightly achy. I felt as though I had done a great service to my family by freeing them of the sticky mess inside their heads. 
Two days later hubby was researching ear candles on the internet. He read that most of the accumulation in the bottom of the candle is actually melted beeswax. I refused to believe him. So, we decided to resolve our dilemma by burning a candle without putting it in anyone’s ear. 
As I held the burning cone, I couldn’t help but think that was as close as I’d come to watching my money literally go up in smoke. When it had burned down to 1 ½ inches I cut the end open. I was terribly disappointed at the amount of brown wax gathered in the tip. 
I’d had such high hopes for this ear cleaning method, but the more I think about it, I have to wonder if all of that beeswax stays in the candle. Maybe some of it melted into my ear as the earwax was being removed. Wouldn’t that be ironic? I guess you could call it an even trade!

About Ginger Truitt

Ginger is an author, speaker, and mother of five. Her award-winning newspaper column appears weekly across the Midwest. Recently, she was also published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood.


  1. Yipers! I think I should tell you thanks for the warning… and I’m sure my kids would thank you if they knew how close I have come to actually subjecting all of us to this process.;)

  2. I’m glad I saved you from a waste of time and money!  Buy the kids ice cream cones instead. 

  3. Really appreciated reading your article before wasting my money and not going directly to and ENT doctor. I have had trouble with my hearing and everyone says I should first try cleaning the wax from my ears.
    Now I will find a good Ear,Nose, Throat doctor and make an appointment.


  4. Hi, great article. However I can see/hear an improvement of hearing.

    All the best.

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