Ear Whacks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 March 2006 04:07
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:

  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.

Otosan Ear Cones

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.

Otosan Ear Cones

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


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

Bloody hell

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.

Massive flame

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

Very calm

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.

Oh shit oh shit oh shit

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

Very close to my ear

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.

Burning to the end

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

One in the hand worth two in the bush

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

Burny burny

About five minutes later, and we're done.

Right down to the ring

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

Putting it out

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.).

Time for comparison

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!

Unroll one

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

Unroll the other

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

Hmmmm interesting

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.

Yummy wax?

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

Next up, the ear wax candle.

Not so yummy earwax

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.

Science at work

Add New
Demand your money back Posted by Evil Prof. Pixel Masher 2006-03-31 11:04:20
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.)

Way ahead of you. Posted by JimmerUK 2006-03-31 12:29:01
An email was drafted and sent yesterday. We'll have to wait and see what's said

It would appear... Posted by JimmerUK 2006-03-31 14:15:02
that I'm in the newsletter twice! I've only just realised!

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......

Erm... Posted by JimmerUK 2006-03-31 14:51:41
I held another, completely seperate burning candle in my hand as the control. I
don't think it really matters that I didn't put it my ear. Thanks for reading.

I think what he's trying to say is that if you had no earwax in your ears in the
first place, the result WOULD be the same as if you were holding it in your
hand. He wants you to stick a q-tip in your ear immediately afterwards to prove
you weren't cheating the system, you cheeky monkey you!

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.

E-Mail / Complaint / Refund Posted by Anon 2006-03-31 18:25:43
What happend with the e-mail you sent off to the company? You really should get
your money back or SUE THEM!!! muahaha


Awesome Posted by Alex Benton 2006-04-01 10:12:17
Dude, you rock. For science.

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

"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?

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

Yet again, I feel I have to explain... Posted by CaroWallis 2006-04-02 05:18:51
... I do not have waxy ears (THANKS ROB!!!) Just ear infections. Sometimes.
*Sigh*. But very good scientific tests etc. Hurrah!

Good, honest research. Posted by V14gr4 2006-04-02 18:07:53
I do get the point about the wax on - wax off ear control though. Purely in the
interests of science.

Bum Candles Posted by Malibu Doghonkey 2006-04-03 03:49:17
I put one of these up my bum and lit it. Afterwards the end was all covered in

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!

Wax-on, wax off! Posted by Karate Kid 2006-04-03 06:42:38
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
javascript:ac_sm ilie(':cry'). The hopi indian
ear candle sorted it right out. So put that in you ear candle and light it!
javascript:ac_smilie (':zzz')

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!


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!

Help for wax Posted by Irene 2007-03-22 21:04:56
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
do I need to do?
Flushing ain't working!!!

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