Ear candles: a triumph of ignorance over science

J Laryngol Otol. 2004 Jan;118(1):1-2. doi: 10.1258/002221504322731529.


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 have been associated with ear injuries. The inescapable conclusion is that ear candles do more harm than good. Their use should be discouraged.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerumen*
  • Complementary Therapies / adverse effects*
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Ear / injuries
  • Humans