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Japanese Ear Picking
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Shelley Batts mentions a story about a boy in Wales who lost, and then recovered, his hearing after jamming a Q-tip in his ear.

Take home message of this story is, 1) there is a reason that your doctor looks in your ears, and 2) don't shove things in there. If you really need to clean out earwax (it is there for a reason, you know) there are perfectly safe ear-drops that do the trick.

This is interesting, because when I lived in Japan, my Japanese girlfriend insisted on cleaning out my earwax with an ear pick, which is a wooden or metal stick with a little scoop on the end. They're much more potentially dangerous than a Q-tip, but if used correctly, they're more effective, since you can gently scrape along the interior edge of the ear canal and scoop out the wax instead of actually pushing it down and impacting it as with a Q-tip. Also, it does feel pretty good.

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