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Given a recent trend toward naturopathic self-treatment, significant attention has been afforded to the practice of ear candling for cerumen removal. Video otoscopy of her right ear revealed that liquid wax from the ear candle had dripped onto the tympanic membrane (Figure 3).
Under a binaural surgical microscope, the otolaryngologist used a surgical hook to remove the plate of ear candle wax from the unanaesthetized surface of the TM. Pure tone audiometry demonstrated some improvement in air conduction hearing acuity, greater in the high frequencies (Figure 7), consistent with restoration of tympanic membrane mobility (Figure 8). Figure 9 shows the remnants of the ten ear candles used by the patient in a single self-treatment session.


The patient noted that she had been using this technique of self-cerumenectomy for a number of years but this was the first time she had ever burned herself by dripping hot wax onto her tympanic membrane. A request submitted to the AltaVista search engine for "ear candles" produces almost 900 references! The patient reported a severe pain during the use of the ear candle which prompted her visit to our clinic. Audiometric results obtained 5 days after removal of ear candle wax from right tympanic membrane.Red dots = before. In a December 12, 1998 episode of ABC-TV's popular talk show The View, one of the hostesses (Star Jones) endorsed ear candling in a demonstration (Wednesday, December 16, 1998) only to "debunk" the process in the following episode (Thursday, December 17, 1998), showing the same residue resulting from burning an ear candle outside the ear.


She reported that "after using the ear candles I wasn't able to hear well out of my right ear and I noticed some bleeding in my ear".
However, this may either been a sanguinous or an ear candle residue which was washed out by the patient prior to coming to the clinic.



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