Also known as an ear cone, an ear candle is a thin, hollow tube of linen or muslin cloth, soaked in paraffin or beeswax and tapered at one end. Some are scented with herbs, honey, or aromatherapy oils.
They are often known as Hopi Candles, which refers to the Hopi tribe of North America but the Hopi people are actually quite upset that their name is being used for marketing purposes, mostly because it's a lie. They deny any association with ear candling. There are various other claims such as the ancient Egyptians and South Americans used them but there is no real evidence for this either.
The basic claim is that the heat from the flame melts and loosens the ear wax and creates negative pressure that 'sucks' the wax into the candle. This is referred to as the 'chimney effect'.
The American Academy of Otolarynology states that ear candles are not a safe option for removing ear wax and that no controlled studies or scientific evidence support their use for ear wax removal. The Food and Drug Administration has successfully taken several regulatory actions against the sale and distribution of ear candles since 1996, including seizing ear candle products and ordering injunctions! www.entnet.org. American Academy of Otolaryngology.
If Hopi candles were truly effective, the practitioner would show you before and after pictures live on a screen as we all do at the Ear Wax Clinic.