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Ear Whacks

Ear Whacks

Ear wax candles… They exist! No, I’m not talking about the grotesque mini mountains of bodily scum turned into a light providing device a la Father Ted, I am indeed talking about special candles that you insert into your ears to clear them of all the gunk. Surely this can’t work? Everyone’s favourite Jim decides, with the help of science, to find out.

Reading back through some old b3ta.com newsletters I discovered a debate dating about three months back relating to Ear Wax candles. I’d heard of these before, as Missus JimmerUK had been going on about them and the benefits they provide. I had bought her some, and she swore by them. I didn’t take much notice until I read the furore they had caused on b3ta.com

From issue 207

* EAR-CANDLES WORK – CaroWallis writes, “in 
    reply to your query about ear-candles. I
    can verify that ear candles are fab,
    especially if you have particularly waxy 
    ears. Somehow, perhaps by magic, the 
    wax/yucky infection stuff is lifted out of
    the ear by burning the ‘candle’, and is
    deposited on the inside of the tube.”
    Ewww! CaroWallis has waxy ears! *Does waxy
    ear dance of yore*

From issue 208

Follow-ups on previous stories.

  * EARWAX CANDLES – THE TRUTH. In issue 207 we
    allowed CaroWallis to claim that they work.
    It seems we may have been wrong:

    >> Don’t believe CaroWallis’ waxy-eared
       endorsement. Earwax candles are a rather
       simplistic trick designed to prey upon the
       guillible and stupid. Here’s the scam: the
       paper itself is coated with wax. One lights
       the end of it, and as the paper burns, the
       yellow wax drips down into the candle,
       looking very much like earwax to the less
       logically-inclined. (etruatcaelum)

    >> Ear candling is hogwash and your correspondent
       CaroWallis must be simple.  The wax visible in
       an ear candle after burning is generated by
       the candle itself. These New Age auropyric
       gimcracks are only for the clinically thick.
       (Elba Goodey)

    >> Surely, if such magical suction could be
       obtained from a candle, someone would have
       invented blowjob candles by now? (wingnutkj)

    >> They are utter crap. And more likely to give
       you a burn rather than clear any wax. I say
       this in my professional capacity – I am and
       Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon. Warmed olive
       oil drops work far better. Or, if you want
       to be really clever, 5% Sodium Bicarbonate
       solution, which is better than any of the
       crap they sell in Boots. (Mr Stephen O’Hanlon
       MBBChir(cantab) MRCS DOHNS, Clinical research
       in ENT surgery, Imperial College, London)

I decided to find out for sure whether they do work or are just bunkum dressed up as a new-age remedy. 

First let’s find out a little more about them from one of the manufacturer’s websites:
www.otosan.com

The OTOSAN cone for the ear care is the rediscovery of an ancient tradition for the treatment and prevention of the ear. Made of natural waxed cloth, it contributes to remove the wax-plug from the ear while re-balancing the ear pressure, and it prevents the unpleasant feeling of “blocked ears”. It can safely be used at home by all those looking for a healthy life and for light and natural treatment methods. 

1. HEAT 
The heat, which is beneficially released towards the inside of the ear, reinforces the blood circulation and helps soften the wax;

2. SUCTION
The warm air, which rises, creates a depression and consequent suction (“chimney effect”) at the base of the cone. This helps eliminate waste and deposits from the ear canal. It also liberates close pores, regenerates the breathing of the skin, and helps regain the correct tension of the eardrum following holidays in the mountains, flights, swimming and diving which can cause that “blocked ear” feeling.

The University of Pavia, following various clinical and dermatological tests in its laboratories, released a positive testimonial on the use of the OTOSAN cone.

Therefore, thanks to continuous research into the quality and safety of the product, the OTOSAN cone has obtained the qualification of class one medical device.


A Class One medical device eh? Let’s put science to work.

So here they are, a pair of Ear Care Cones. The box has a nice reassuring picture of a calm young girl with a flaming candle in her ear.

Ear Whacks

They’re about six inches long, but you only burn down about four inches to the silver “flame-breaking” ring. The silver disc slides up the bottom of the cone to prevent any flaming debris from setting your hair alight. Thoughtful. 

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Righto, let’s do this. Out comes the trusty Zippo.

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Bloody, buggery, fuck! This thing burns more violently than Hemel Hempsted.

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I prepared a small glass of water to extinguish the cone once it’d finished, but looking at this, I think I underestimated how much flame there would be. 

Ear Whacks

In the ear it goes. As you can see, my face is identical to the calm girl on the box. Very relaxing. 

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Going back to my school days and the use of Bunsen Burners, I remember being  taught that the blue part of the flame is the hottest. Thankfully, at the time I couldn’t see, but there’s a bloody big bit of blue flame steadily creeping toward my ear. 

Ear Whacks

It’s all in the name of science. It’s all in the name of science. It’s all in the name of science.

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Reliably informed that the flame had reached the ring (the “flame-breaking” ring, not mine), I pull the still flaming, molten candle from my ear.

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Now for the control. I decide to make my hand into an ear like fist and start again.

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I am very proud to take this torch and open the JimmerUK 2006 Olympics.

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About five minutes later, and we’re done.

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Let’s put that burning little fucker out. I can’t believe I just had one of those in my ear.

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So, now all that’s left is for me to unroll these cones and discover what secrets they hold inside. The one on the left is from my hand, the one on the right from my ear (you might just be able to make out a little bit of scummy ear wax on the end. I had not cleaned out my ears for a while in preparation of this experiment…what? WHAT? Speak up.).

Ear Whacks

First things first, the cone that had been flaming in my ear is unravelled. Oooh interesting. There seems to be a build up of wax, and some powdery stuff. Is that from my ear? Wow!

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Before I get too excited I peel bak the layers of the one that had burnt in my hand.

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Ah. It would seem to have an identical amount of wax and powdery stuff.

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Last time I looked I didn’t have hand-wax, so I can only assume that this has been produced by the candle. It would also be safe to assume that the wax in the first cone is also from the candle itself and not my ear. So the whole thing has been debunked.

Whoah there fella. There is still one more test to do. The ultimate of tests, and I take my lead from this guy in the b3ta.com newsletter:

Me and a few mates were convinced to try it
       by some hippie girl. I was so determined to
       prove her wrong that I ate the wax from
       everyone else’s candle. Everyone I know
       knows what ear wax tastes like, and if you
       say you don’t you’re a liar. This stuff did
       not taste like ear wax. (Danimal)

So, let’s do it. Let’s eat the wax! First up the wax from what I now lovingly call my Hand Candle.

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Although disgusting, not a hint of ear wax there at all. No surprise there. 

Next up, the ear wax candle. 

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Again, very disgusting, but (and it’s a biggy) no taste whatsoever of ear wax. It tastes exactly the same as the Hand Candle wax. 

So there we go. These things are rubbish, they don’t do a god-damned thing. Considering they cost about £10 for a box of two you’d be better off buying a bumper box of cotton tipped ear buds and you’d still have some money left over for popcorn. 

Science at work.

Ear Whacks
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Evil Prof. Pixel Masher
Evil Prof. Pixel Masher

My suggestion for the next phase of this experiment is to confront the company with this site and demand your money back.

And then let us all know what they said.

(If Otosan is reading this – please pretend that we won’t publish your comments. Ta very much.)

shaneseyt
shaneseyt

Just read your ear candling experiment, and while it seems you covered all bases in debunking this method of ear care, the only thing I am left wondering is if you stuck a q-tip in your and ear wax came out…as you pointed out, you had not cleaned your ears in prep for the experiment, it would have been ideal to show that you indeed cleaned your ears and found wax inside AFTER the candling experiment….just a thought……

Rob T Firefly
Rob T Firefly

Many, many thanks for subjecting yourself to this for science! For years I’ve been trying to tell people how well these don’t work, and now I have a site with photos to point them to. I’d like to shake your hand for this, after of course checking for hand wax.

Anon
Anon

E-Mail / Complaint / Refund
What happend with the e-mail you sent off to the company? You really should get your money back or SUE THEM!!! muahaha
????

Alex Benton
Alex Benton

Awesome. Dude, you rock. For science.

Dave H
Dave H

Love the fact that google are trying to sell ear candles at the end of your
experiment.

anonymous
anonymous

“The OTOSAN cone for the ear care is the rediscovery of an ancient tradition for the treatment and prevention of the ear.”

Prevention of the ear?

rossy
rossy

never even heard of ear candles to be honest, and thanks to you i wont need to test them out. Cheers

CaroWallis
CaroWallis

Yet again, I feel I have to explain I do not have waxy ears (THANKS ROB!!!) Just ear infections. Sometimes. *Sigh*. But very good scientific tests etc. Hurrah!

V14gr4
V14gr4

Good, honest research.
I do get the point about the wax on – wax off ear control though. Purely in the interests of science.

Malibu Doghonkey
Malibu Doghonkey

Bum candles.
I put one of these up my bum and lit it. Afterwards the end was all covered in shit.

Komie
Komie

had an ex-girl friend do this for me ONCE….she said it would a very relaxing and soothing experiance….Actually nearly shat my pants as I knew there was a hooj fuk off flame inches from my ear….My ears are very waxless, and she did the same,\”oooh look at all the residue….which I debunked as crap…she thought I was being narrow minded, thus shes an ex!..and take your candkes with you woman!

Karate Kid
Karate Kid

Ah, but you should be ysing Hope Indian ear candles! Those look different to the ones in your scientific test, and they really do work. I had a problem when my ear didn’t “pop” after a flight and it was hurting for days. The hopi indian ear candle sorted it right out. So put that in you ear candle and light it!

DL~
DL~

A friend had a problem with a blocked ear that even the doctor said he couldn\’t do anything about and ear candles helped her enormously!

dmac
dmac

I’m glad your girlfriend was helped enormously by ear candles after her doctor could’t help her out. … but just maybe, does this sceinticc approach show that your girlfriend is (as you expect) a bit of a loon? Ear caendles DO NOT WORK
perhaps this is a suggestion that your misses is bullshiting you and your dick isn’t 9′ ? Sorry to tell the truth, but probably cheaper than divorce or dick extension – ‘d’ is for dork!

irene
irene

Kkkk
Was just about to buy this stuff. My ear has been without sound for 2 weeks. My eardrum can not be seen and I’ve tried the drops. peroxide..etc
What do I need to do?
Flushing ain’t working!!!
Thanks