Device name: Ear Candle or Hopi Ear Candle
Manufacturer: Biosun, AJS Candles, Wally’s Natural Products, CaliGreen Company, and others
Approved uses: These devices have not been approved by the FDA
Ear candles consist of a hollow cone about 10 inches long made from a fabric tube soaked in beeswax, paraffin or a mixture of the two. Wax ear candles have been incorrectly named Hopi ear candles, although no link exists between the Native American tribe and the devices. Although the tribe has repeatedly asked manufacturers to stop using the Hopi name, they have not complied.
Ear Candle Risks
In February 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement warning consumers and healthcare providers not to use ear candles because “they can cause serious injuries, even when used according to the manufacturer’s directions.” Despite claims and advertisements that ear candles remove ear wax and other “impurities” from the ear, relieve sinus, headache and earache pain, improve hearing, blood purification, improve brain function and even cure cancer, no valid scientific evidence to promote the safety or effectiveness of the device much less the effectiveness of the medical benefits or claims.
The FDA has received reports of ear candle wax burns, perforated eardrums and blockage of the ear canal which required outpatient surgery from the use of ear candles.
Ear Candling and Children
Children are at an increased risk of injury and complications from ear candles due to a variety of reasons. The FDA is concerned that small children and infants may move during the use of the device, which may increase the risk of wax burns and ear candle wax plugging the ear canal. Additionally, smaller ear canal size may make the child more susceptible for injuries than adults.
According to the FDA, Ear candles are sold and promoted in a variety of locations, including health food stores, flea markets, health spas and salons, as well as on commercial web sites.