Meet the fresher who’s obsessed with cleaning ears

Johnson’s cotton buds are her ear buds of choice

Emma McGuigan gets a satisfaction out of pulling dark and dirty earwax from her friends’ ears, and gets wound up when she sees strangers with dirty ears as she can’t clean their ears for them.

Emma, who studies journalism, was 10 years old when she realised she had a problem with dirty ears, as she used to sit behind a guy in school who  had “the worst earwax”. Emma told The Tab Cardiff: “Every day all I could think about was cleaning his ears”. This in turn made her worry that other people might think that about her, so she became self-conscious about her ears and started cleaning them obsessively. She said: “This is when I first realised I had a problem”.



When cleaning other people’s ears, Emma even uses the flashlight feature on her phone to make sure they’re completely clean. She said: “I find it so so gross when people have dirty ears, I clean mine every day without fail.”

The journalism student added: “I ask most of my friends if I can clean their ears, and most of the time they’ll refuse, which drives me crazy! There’s so much filth in their bodies that they just neglect.”

Emma admits though that when they do actually let her clean their ears and they come out with big bits of wax, it’s “literally the most satisfying thing in my whole life, especially when it’s all weird and dark, I really feel like they’re a lot cleaner getting that out of them!”


The 20-year-old’s boyfriend has even felt the wrath of Emma’s cotton buds. Emma said: “My boyfriend will have to tell me in the car to stop staring at his ears otherwise I’ll have to get out, I don’t even realise I’m staring!”

Emma hasn’t been diagnosed with anything, but doesn’t feel as though it would make much of a difference, as she’d still find dirty ears disgusting, diagnosis or not. The fresher commented: “I think one of the most extreme scenarios was when my mum banned me from cleaning my little brother and sister’s ears because I would pressure them into letting me clean them every week.”