Not worth the candle, reckons quackwatch
Not everyone thinks ear candling is a good idea. Quackwatch - a watchdog website set up by Stephen Barrett, a doctor in the US, to monitor health frauds - says that, because wax is sticky, the negative pressure needed to pull wax from the ear canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process.
'However, candling produces no vacuum,' the website says. 'Researchers who measured the pressure during ear candling ... found that no negative pressure was created.
'The same investigators candled eight ears and found that no ear wax was removed, and candle wax was actually deposited in some of them.''
For most people, ear wax moves along the ear canal and eventually makes it to the outside, taking with it any accumulated dirt or other matter, it goes on to say.
The site advises that compacted ear wax should be removed by a physician or other health professional.