When properly manufactured and when following proper directions, Ear Candles are far safer than household candles!
First, let’s examine the famous Dr. Seely’s survey in 1996 that most EVERYONE quotes as the gospel proving that ear candles are dangerous. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8849790 )
Dr. Seely’s survey was exactly that, a survey of 163 doctors. 122 responded. ONLY 1/3 of the physicians (40) were even aware of ear candle usage in their patients. And overall ONLY 14 doctors had treated patients with alleged complications of ear candle usage.
The purpose of the study was to investigate the usefulness of ear candles in the management of cerumen (ear wax). The safety of ear candles was also studied.
It was determined that ear candles do not remove wax from the ear. (I have been reporting this and educating about this since I wrote my dissertation in 2007, where I concurred with these findings.)
No negative pressure was generated by any of the burning ear candles at any point during their investigation. The wax found in the ear candle comes from the ear candle itself.
Dr. Seely wrote that candle wax was deposited in two of the four cerumen-free ears that were tested. Later in an interview with former FDA investigator, Dr. Arthur Evangelista, Dr. Seely revealed that he did not analyze this residue: “The ear residue was a fine ash-like substance” but the research team did NOT do an analysis of it. He “felt” that it was a small amount of a very fine particulate material that “may have been” consistent with very fine ash and wax, mixed, in a fine coating of “material”.
Are feelings and what ‘may have been’ science?
This survey does not prove that ear candles are dangerous. It indicates that there are problems with ear candles that are made improperly, that people are using ear candles for the wrong reasons and that there is a serious lack of education.
Second, let’s review the number of Adverse Event Reports (AER’s) that have been reported to the FDA, Maude reporting system (The FDA’s online reporting system for Drugs, Devices, Food when there is an adverse affect.)
Let’s review the complaints over the last 13 years. Since 2006 there have been ONLY 10 legitimate adverse event reports. That is less than one a year. Let’s compare that to over 52 million ear candles sold in the last 13 plus years.
Ear Candles only have an injury rate of .00000025
Let’s compare ear candles to household candles
Household Candles: From 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,200 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 80 deaths, 770 injuries and $264 million in direct property damage. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Candles
Health Food Stores like Whole Foods will not sell ear candles because they believe them to be dangerous. Yet, they promote and sell a variety of candles to be used in the home. No one would dare consider suing Whole Foods or Yankee Candles for damage caused by a lit candle that a consumer lit and used in their homes.
To be transparent, there has been one death that the media TRIED to attribute to ear candling:
Alaska Fire Marshall Gary L. Powell has reported two instances of significant fires associated with ear candling, one of which led to the user's death. On January 27, 2005 a 59-year-old woman fell asleep on her bed, while ear candling herself with no assistance, woke up startled and ignited her apartment when she threw the ear candle from her ear into the bedroom curtains. The woman did escape but suffered an asthma attack and died in a hospital emergency room.
In this instance, the user did not follow the instructions and attempted to use the ear candle by herself.
Her death was caused by the fire, NOT the ear candle. It is the same as a household candle, if the household candle caught fire to the curtains and burned the house down, would we blame and ban our favorite Bath and Body Works candle? Absolutely not.
As Dr. Patrick Quanten so eloquently states:
“Put in this framework we can now relate to problems resulting from the burning of candles in a person’s ear. As we are working with an open flame, we assume that adults are responsible people and capable of judging potential danger from the flame itself. If we are not then it is time to ban the sale and use of all ordinary candles too, as houses have burned down as a result of leaving candles to burn unsupervised.”