One ball head, one tweezer, two feather blades, one wire loop, one shaver, one excavator, two down puffs, and an earpick – those are the typical instruments found in an ear-cleaning set and have been popular with Asians (who are more likely to accumulate dry cerumen) for centuries. Though these tools may sound scary or even painful, most individuals who have experienced them tend to report calmness and/or intense pleasure. According to a San Jose Mercury News article, ear-cleaning can bring “a lot of happiness,” is like “good sex,” “tingles” when touched the right way, is “a mind-blowing experience,” and/or leads to “ear-gasms.” Moreover, according to the same article, this delicate art has been “quietly offered” at Vietnamese barbershops in San Jose, California.
Thus began a year-long investigation. The author visited randomly selected Vietnamese barbershops in San Jose, California from February 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. Yet, after visiting approximately forty Vietnamese-ran hair salons, the author was not able to find even a single one that offers ear-cleaning services. Most inquiries received either blank stares or an acknowledging chuckle followed by the advice to visit Vietnam for such services. Were the inquiries simply not “quiet” enough? Or, were there sexual biases, since the practice is most commonly sought by men? Perhaps, ear-cleaning in America should be left for physicians only? (Afterall, the American Academy of Otolaryngology does not recommend regular ear-cleaning as usage of cotton swabs or the above named tools could lead to more damages than benefits.)
Maybe there are more barbershops in Orange County or Houston or in other enclaves that regularly perform ear-picking? Have any VTP readers experienced good ear-cleaning outside of Vietnam and, of course, aside from when performing it on oneself?