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
* 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*
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
>> 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.
>> 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:
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.
The heat, which is beneficially released towards the inside of the ear, reinforces the blood circulation and helps soften the wax;
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.
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.
Righto, let’s do this. Out comes the trusty Zippo.
Bloody, buggery, fuck! This thing burns more violently than Hemel Hempsted.
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.
In the ear it goes. As you can see, my face is identical to the calm girl on the box. Very relaxing.
Going back to my school days and the use of Bunsen Burners, I remember
It’s all in the name of science. It’s all in the name of science. It’s all in the name of science.
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.
Now for the control. I decide to make my hand into an ear like fist and start again.
I am very proud to take this torch and open the JimmerUK 2006 Olympics.
About five minutes later, and we’re done.
Let’s put that burning little fucker out. I can’t believe I just had one of those in my ear.
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.).
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!
Before I get too excited I peel bak the layers of the one that had burnt in my hand.
Ah. It would seem to have an identical amount of wax and powdery stuff.
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.
Although disgusting, not a hint of ear wax there at all. No surprise there.
Next up, the ear wax candle.
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.