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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Now Hear This!

The ever expanding universe of fabulous has yet again thrown me another perfect gold plated “bone” so to speak with the opening of the newly renovated YMCA across the street from my home.

As many of my readers know, I am a big fan of Vancouver. I freakin love this city. I love the rain which makes my hair perfectly curly and my skin as soft as can be. I love the green all year round and the perfect summer days that make life truly worth living.

Most importantly, I love that being active is truly a priority in this town. Case and point is the new YMCA. Let’s be clear… this is not your mother’s YMCA. There is an airy spaciousness about it that is truly fabulous. There is a café that serves health conscious snacks and meals to go. There is a pool with a motorized movable floor and a whirlpool that is easily the size of my apartment.

There is an option for a “women’s plus” change room. This change room is en par with a spa. There is a private whirlpool and steam room and YES! Each shower has a stall (good-bye naked girl….)

The showers even have AVEDA products including shampoo and conditioner provided. Needless to say, I am truly in love with the fact that at 8 pm at night I can walk across the street, go for a swim, wash my hair with rosemary and mint shampoo and conditioner and then walk back across the street in my pajamas and go to bed. This is nirvana in the true sense of the word.

So last night I did just that. And as I was changing into my lovely p.j.’s after a perfect frolic in the water, I noticed a counter full of lovely jars of vanity products for the use of all the women in the “women plus” changing room. There they were- lovely rows of glass apothecary jars filled with razors and cotton balls and Q tips. And in front of them was a woman standing at the mirror and cleaning her ears.

Yes I know certain personal behaviours should be sacred and respected. We all have certain grooming habits that are unique and who is a sister to judge? I am sure the way I comb out my hair or apply product may look odd to some, but it is my ritualistic fingerprinted way and who would mock or judge my locker room habits? Well, unfortunately, I AM that judgemental sister. Besides, this woman was seriously going to town. I was quite concerned that I was going to have to do CPR on her ear drums at some point.

I must admit, I never understood the whole ear cleaning thing. I grew up in a strictly “non-ear cleaning” household. I seriously can not recall a time when we as a family did clean our ears. I remember a box of “Q-Tips” under the sink in the bathroom as a child, but I always thought they were for first aid; for applying some special medicine to “hard to reach” place.

Make no mistake, WE were a very clean household. IN fact my mother would wash the floors easily twice a day- to the point where I grew up thinking that it was perfectly acceptable to eat food if it had dropped on the floor. Why not? The floor had likely just been washed and was in fact clean enough to eat off of.

I was bathed daily as a infant and a child and the taught to take my own shower at about age 5. Hair, hands and face… all squeaky clean. Ears were never on the menu.

It turns out, my mother was a visionary.

A study published in Clinical Pediatrics in 1994 and conducted by the Dpeartment of Pediatrics at the Cleavland Clinic showed that cleaning your ears with cotton swabs is BULLSHIT.

They studied parents' and patients' approach to earwax (cerumen) removal, patients' level of cerumen occlusion, and the association between the use of cotton-tipped swabs ear wax/cerumen occlusion. Six hundred fifty-one consecutive patients from the general pediatric practice of the Cleveland Clinic aged 2 weeks to 20 years (57% males) answered a questionnaire with their parents' help. Of the 651, 401 (62%) had used cotton swabbed tips during the 2 months before the study.

Examiners unaware of the questionnaire results found that 46 (7%) of both right and left ear canals were at least 75% occluded by ear wax. Ear wax occlusion of at least 75% was associated with cotton swab tip use on the left side but not on the right side The study concluded that cotton-tipped swab use may be associated with cerumen accumulation.

Another study published in the British Medical Journal surveyed children’s ears for ear wax accumulation and asked them questions about cotton swab use. Of the children examined there was a significant prevalence of ear wax/cerumen plugs in children who had their ears cleaned with cotton tipped swabs as opposed to those who did not.

And so another week passes and I sigh a deep breath of relief that my years of neglect have lead to the cleanest ear canals money can buy. This morning in my clinic I even had a colleague look inside my ears to see what my “cerumen situation” was….

Apparently just like the childhood floors I grew up eating off of… my ears canals are spotless. And that, as they say, is music to my ears.

1 comment:

  1. So, how DO I clean my ears? Signed, Addicted to Q-Tips, Vancouver, B.C.