The last of India's street ear-cleaners


#1

[Read the post]


#2

[germophobia intensifies]


#3

A friend who worked at the Strand book store in lower Manhattan where the workers are represented by United Auto Workers said his co-worker went to the union hall to have his ears cleaned and liked it.

Finding a way to get tourists interested in a traditional ear cleaning experience could help these guys. I might pay $5 - $10 to try this and tip 25 percent.


#4

If you want to descend down a hole of internet grossness, start looking at the videos posted by Indian ENT docs…
NSFA (not safe for anybody)


#5

I don’t know whether we want to find a way to get tourists interested in these guys. As I understand it there has been a concerted effort to make the local populace disinterested in them. IIRC they’ve kind of been a public health menace. Providing an unnecessary but unsanitary, and potentially ear drum puncturing, service and selling bunk remedies and sketchy mystic advice.


#6

In the early 90s when I lived in Japan, one of my friends was given a tiny little spoon with a long handle as a gift - it was an ear cleaning spoon - we were all grossed out over the idea, but it seems that it is a common thing for couples to clean each others ears. Also, I was told that Japanese and maybe other Asian people have a slightly different kind of ear wax than say Europeans (can’t remember if it was drier or not, but not sure if I believe that anyway).

Don’t think I’d trust any street ear cleaner myself. I do feel the need every once in a while (especially after swimming or snorkeling and such) to take flush out my ears with warm water and one of those squeezable rubber ear syringes. It may take a few minutes but eventually a pencil eraser side wax plug pops out (sometimes it gets dissolved in pieces) and my hearing is much better. I doubt that any of those ear cleaners would do that.

(Once, after scuba diving in Thailand I went to a clinic to have the impacted ear wax flushed out, again it was just warm water and an ear syringe).


#7

Well, I got through the whole thing! Pretty amazing, actually, especially the climactic ending. But, now I’m not hungry for lunch anymore.


#8

Did he leave that last little cotton dipped in whatever inside the ear???


#9

“Don’t put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear.”

And wearing earbuds or earplugs a lot can cause a problem (though AFAIK, it hasn’t for me).

The main message: Earwax “has a physiological function, and unless there’s a reason to remove it, you should just leave it alone. It’s OK.”


#10

Wiki has an entry on Cerumen (earwax). Interesting read. Those who use a curette properly only gently press against the middle ear canal and definitely stay away from the eardrum region – or anything beyond where the canal makes a dogleg.

Maybe BoingBoing can do a COOL TOOLS review on the Coden Ear Scope


#11

…whelp, that’s enough internet for me today.


#12

[quote=“petr, post:6, topic:61159”]
Also, I was told that Japanese and maybe other Asian people have a slightly different kind of ear wax than say Europeans (can’t remember if it was drier or not, but not sure if I believe that anyway).[/quote]

Yup. It’s true.

My adopted-from-China nieces need to have their ear wax cleaned out now and then. Drier and chunkier. They go to an ear doctor; wouldn’t surprise me that the Japanese came up with a custom to deal with it at home.

I understand that Native Americans have yet a third consistency.


#13

I usually don’t have problems with wax buildup, and generally follow my mother’s rule about putting things in your ear: “The only thing you should put in your ear is your own elbow. And only after you’ve wrapped your winter coat around it…”

I did get an impacted cerumen a few months ago for the first time ever. I flushed it out myself with body temperature water and an ear syringe.


#14

Here’s a link to the LA Times story. I didn’t see it in the Boing Boing post.


#15

And yet there is often enough a reason to remove it, that docs have equipment to do so (and, of course, charge for the service).

I think it’s more like “most people don’t have problems with earwax,” but it seems to be a regular issue for others, including myself. I need a cleaning once or twice a year, and of course this gets sucked into the Medical Bureaucracy of Hell.

It’s really vacuous advice when you think about it. “Leave it alone unless it’s a problem.” Well, yeah, but it IS a problem for some people. Maybe I wouldn’t get it done by a guy on the streets of Calcutta, but a Genuine ENT seems like overkill for such a trivial procedure.

I understand the concerns, but it seems a bit paternalistic, especially when the need for this procedure varies by ancestry.


#16

well that filled my gross quota for the day.


#17

@redesigned @milliefink @Spieguh, you really can’t call it a day unless you made it to at least one that features maggots…


#18

i’m glad i already finished my sushi…


#19

http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/meme/images/b/b6/Scared_yao.png/revision/latest?cb=20141110120752


#20

Oh lordy, thank you for not posting one of those right before bedtime.