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September 1995

Ear Candles

Author Affiliations

Seattle, Wash

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(9):1068. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890090102024

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Ear candles are a product promoted by the alternative health field for cerumen removal, tinnitus reduction, allergy relief, and the treatment of various other ailments. Their use involves placing the tapered end of a hollow 12-inch candle into the external auditory canal and lighting the opposite end. A gentle vacuum is allegedly generated that draws the impurities from the ear. A dark-brown waxy substance purported to be cerumen plus assorted toxins is left in the candle stub. The practice of ear candling is gaining popularity owing to recent publicity in the lay press (Miami Herald. May 16, 1993:9). One ear candle distributor in the Seattle, Wash, area sells 1000 candles per week for $3 per candle.

We have seen serious complications associated with the use of ear candles. Our experience prompted a study of the efficacy and safety of ear candles, the preliminary results of which are presented herein. A survey

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