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A Burning Question

Constantine V. Karolidis constantine at ica.net
Sun Apr 20 15:19:57 EST 1997

keskritt at sprynet.com wrote:
> To All Audiologists:
> Recently, I have had many patients coming into my office who have had their ears "candled".  I am not sure if this practice
> is widespread, but in Southern Ontario, it is becoming more commonplace.  Ear candling basically is the practice of placing
> a burning candle in someone's ear, which apparently is to help remove wax.  Mind you, not any ordinary candle is used, but
> a special one which is supposed to pull the ear wax up inside it.  Once done, the ear candler breaks the candle open and
> shows you how much "wax" was in your ear.  This procedure is done by people who are "certified" ear candlers, (i.e.,
> naturopaths, etc.)  who take a course(?) on the matter.
> My problem is with this -  these people advertise in the newspaper, implying that the ear candling can :
> -safely remove ear wax
> -"cure" tinnitus
> -"cure" hearing loss
> -help your sinuses
> -"cure" ear infections
> etc.
> I have had many patients go for candling with the false hope that it will cure their sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus.
> My patients end up paying for several "treatments", which are very costly, with no results.  In fact, when I look in their ears,
> there is still impacted wax which needs to be removed by a physician.
> To complicate matters, I cannot believe the false information imparted by the ear candlers.  For some reason, they believe
> that cerumen is actually made in your sinuses, and collects in the  Eustachian tube.  I don't know how many times I have
> had to explain to people that it is anatomically impossible to have wax in your Eustachian tubes, and if you do, something is
> drastically wrong!
> So, :  has anyone come across similar situations?
> Has anyone had patients injured by this procedure?
> Is there any research out there indicating any benefits to ear candling?
> Is there any research out there indicating definite risks, or documenting injury?
> Who trains these people, and where do they get there anatomy courses?
> Can the government do ANYTHING to prevent this type of stuff from going on?  (F.Y.I., here in Ontario, our government
> regulates us profusely, and as far as I know, there is nothing to stop this from happening.)
> You may respond through the newsgroup, or e-mail me directly at keskritt at sprynet.com.
> K. A. Eskritt, M.Cl.Sc., Reg CASLPO
> Audiologist
Dear K.A. Eskritt:

I would be very interested to see any ads you or your patients have
found.  I have heard that ear candling can remove cerumen; BUT THATS

I am the chair of Public Relations for the Association of Hearing
Instrument Practitioners of Ontario.  My committee looks at thinks such
as misleading advertising, mail order hearing aids, etc.  I wasn't aware
that ear candling was widespread in Southern Ontario.  Depending on what
claims were made there are several avenues to take to try and resolve
this issue.

You can e-mail me at constantine at ica.net and check out our web page at:

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