Ear Candles / Ear Cones
Hopi Ear candling is currently the most popular method for removing excessive ear wax. Also called ear coning or thermal-auricular treatment, the practice involves placing a special wax candle or cone in the ear canal. A plate or some other device is usually placed around the candle so that dripping, melted wax does not fall on the patient.
The candle is lit and the flame is said to create negative pressure, which pulls wax, toxins, and other foreign material out of the ear canal.
Do Ear Candles Really Work?
Proponents of ear candling often crack open the hollow ear candles at the end of the treatment to show the material which has been extracted. It can look pretty unappetizing:
So if all that wax is sitting in your ear, shouldn't you be jumping to shove a candle in there and suck it out? Not so quick. Those opposed to the practice of ear candling say that the residue shown above doesn't come from inside the ear at all, but is rather part of the candle. In some tests that have been done, candles that have been burned without being inserted in ears generated the same junk shown above! What you need to know here however, is that this was only with certain brands of candles. With other brands, this has not been shown to be the case.
Ear Candle Safety
You're putting a burning candle that drips melting wax into a sensitive orifice, so yes -- there's a danger here. People have burnt their ear canals and some have even damaged or ruptured their ear drums. In fact, it is now illegal to sell ear candles in Canada because of the disputed benefits and the reported accidents and injuries that have been caused. You can read the Canadian government report on ear candles here -- it is quite instructive.
So be careful and read all the instructions carefully. If you can get someone else to do the ear cleaning procedure for you, that might be best.