Candling Dad's Ears

BY: Lucy Tormoehlen, R.N., MSN

Last Thanksgiving, my 85-year-old father finally got his hearing
aids back from the shop, just in time for our family reunions. However, 10
days later his hearing aids were not working and had to be taken in
again, due to the accumulation of cerumen in them. The hearing aids were
in the shop every month. there had to be a more reasonable remedy than
leaving Dad in a silent world so often. Of course, without his hearing
aids, it is also extremely difficult for another person to communicate
with Dad.

Members of my family who go to herbalist taught me how to "candle"
another person's ears to remove wax. They spoke of great success with this
method. With nothing to lose, I decided I would "candle" Dad's ears each
Saturday when I went over to do his shower and other hygiene. Since
I began candling Daad's ears every week, his hearing aids have not once
been in the shop for clogged wax. The filter on the hearing aids are
also changed every week as an added protection to safegaurd the

Candling ears is an ancient remedy and can easily be done in a
person's home. I candle my Dad's ears after his shower, so that I can
draw out any water that goes into his ears.

The equipment needed to candle a person's ears is very
inexpensive, a lot less expensive than repeated shop work, and
certainly better than my Dad repeatedly having a temporary hearing loss.
The candles can be obtained from health food stores. (Candles, or
complete kits, with books-ect., can be ordered from this Site) They are
the whitish color of bee's wax, and look like a dried strip of waxed
fabric, spiral-wrapped up to a point. Essantially, the candle is a 10
inch hollow tube. Besides the candles, I use 2 aluminum pie tins, about
8" in diameter. In one pie tin I cut a hole in the center, about the
size of a penny, so the ear candle can fit through easily. This will
serve as a bobeche for the burning candle. I also use a 2 quart bowl or
pan, about 1/2 filled with water, a pair of sharp scissors and a box of
wooden matches.

I have my Dad lie down, turned on his side with his head on a
pillow. I sit on the floor at the back of his head at a place where I
can manage the candle easily in his ear. I put the candle through the
hole in the pie tin and have my Dad put the pointed end of the candle in
his ear canal. He usually can hold onto the candle until I strike the
match and light the other end of the candle. For safety's sake, I take
hold of the candle as soon as possible. I hold the candle and my Dad's
ear from the burning flame. The pointed end of the candle should make a
seal in the ear canal. If it doesn't, smoke will harmlessly curl up out
of the ear from the spot where it can leak through. This does not cause
any burn and cannot be felt by the patient. It does indicate that the
candle should be better adjusted within the canal. The smoke which
hovers at the base of the candle will dissapate without a trace.

After the candle has burned down about 2 inches, I cut the black
end off with the scissors, taking care that the blackened piece falls
onto the the tin around the candle. As an alternative, other able
persons can hold onto the candle in their own ear. Freeing the operator
to use the spare pie tin to catch the blackened end when it's cut.

As the candle continues to burn, it makes soft crackling and
popping sounds similar to wood burning in a fireplace, but on a much
smaller scale. Periodically, the candle should be lifted out of the ear
to make sure the pointed tip is open. If the opening is patent, smoke
will trickle through the tiny hole. If the hole is not patent, it can
easily be re-opened by poking through it with the unburned end of the
wooden match.

It takes about 20 minutes for the candle to burn down near to the
person's ear. I always keep my two fingers holding the the candle under
the pie tin. When I remove the burning candle and pull it from
underneath the pie tin. Then I quickly extinguish the burning flame in
the pan of water. With the flame out, I hold the remains of the candle
over the spare pie tin, cut off the charred end, and then cut the candle
open to see what wax, and other stuff was extracted in the candling
process. Most often, this soft, waxy looking material looks like ear
wax, but some has to be residue from the bnurning fabric and wax of the
candle. I burn 3 candles, one after the other, in one ear. Then Dad
turns over, and I burn 3 more candles in the other ear. Dad easily
manages a nap during the candling process.

I don't claim any expertise in this candling process, but I can
attest to good results that I have had for my Dad AND for all of
his loved ones around him.

OAKLAND, MD. 21550