The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Review Article

(RF) Otorhinolaryngology

Ear candles: a triumph of ignorance over science

E. Ernst M.D., Ph.D., F.R.C.P., F.R.C.P.(Ed). a1
a1 Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, Exeter,UK

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Ear candles are hollow tubes coated in wax which are inserted into patients’ ears and then lit at the far end. The procedure is used as a complementary therapy for a wide range of conditions. A critical assessment of the evidence shows that its mode of action is implausible and demonstrably wrong. There are no data to suggest that it is effective for any condition. Furthermore, ear candles havebeen associated with ear injuries. The inescapable conclusion is that ear candles do more harm than good. Their use should be discouraged.

Key Words: Cerumen; Therapy.