Stick What in Your Ear?
By Lisa Wade McCormick, ConsumerAffairs.com, 2/23/2010
Does sticking a burning candle in your ear sound like a good way to remove ear wax or cleanse your blood of impurities?
Many consumers are apparently trying this procedure -- often called "ear candling" -- because of claims that it can do everything from remove toxins in the ear canal to cure cancer. But federal health officials warn consumers not to use these products, saying they can cause burns and other serious injuries.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also said consumers shouldn't be swayed by claims that ear candling can improve hearing, relieve headaches, sinus and ear infections, purify blood, cure cancer, or improve brain functions.
"FDA has found no valid scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of these devices for any medical claims or benefits," the agency said in a statement released on Saturday.
Ear candles are hollow cones about ten inches long made from a fabric tube soaked in beeswax, paraffin, or a mixture of the two. Companies that make these products claim that burning a candle in the ear creates a vacuum that draws wax and other debris from the ear canal.
But the FDA said consumers who have used ear candles have suffered burns and perforated eardrums that required outpatient surgery. These injuries happened even when consumers used the ear candles according to the manufacturer's direction, the FDA said…