They’re a hollow fabric cone about 10 inches long made from beeswax, paraffin, or a mixture.

They can cause serious injuries, even when used according to the manufacturer’s directions, says the FDA.

According to advertised claims, burning an ear candle draws earwax and “impurities” or “toxins” out of the ear canal. Relief from sinus and ear infections, headache and earache, as well as improved hearing, “blood purification,” improvements in brain function, even curing cancer are also purported.

The bottom line?

FDA has no valid scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of these devices for any medical claims or benefits.

What’s more, they have received reports of burns, perforated eardrums, and blockage of the ear canal that required surgery to repair.

FDA is especially concerned because some ear candles are advertised for use in children. Their smaller ear canal size might make them more susceptible to injuries.

3/19/10 20:09 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.