Ear wax removal video goes viral: Why do we love watching 'disgusting' videos?

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Why is the internet watching an ear wax removal video? [Photo: Getty]

An ear wax removal video has gone viral on social media.

The video, shared by US publication Insider on Twitter, showed a trio of people getting their ear wax professionally extracted.

The graphic video has since gone viral on the platform – garnering more than 35,000 likes at time of writing.

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It has had a mixed reaction. While some are put off by the video, posting throwing up emojis, others are calling it “satisfying and disgusting at the same time”.

One person even compared it to “Dr Pimple Popper” videos – a viral phenomenon started by dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, where she shares videos of herself extracting the pus from large spots.

But why is it that some of us derive satisfaction from watching “disgusting” videos online?

We asked psychotherapist Dr Sheri Jacobson, founder of counselling booking platform Harley Therapy, why we are so drawn to this kind of video.

She told Yahoo UK: “Naturally, as humans, we’re intrigued drawn to the unusual and unexpected – whether that’s a car crash or disaster or simply an odd-looking object.

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”There’s also something grounding about watching an excess of bodily fluids – we feel drawn to it and connected, as we’re all made up of fluids.”

She added: “Finally, we get a sense of mindfulness from this – we derive satisfaction from focussing our attention of something exclusively. It takes us away from our daily activities, and helps us focus away from our stresses – which is inherently soothing and relaxing.”

If you’re one of those people who loves watching “disgusting” videos online, Jacobson reassures there’s nothing wrong with your habit.

“There’s no right or wrong. People are interested in what they’re interested in, and it’s not detrimental,” she adds.

Ann Heathcote, a counsellor and therapist at the The Worsley Centre, has another theory.

She tells Yahoo UK: “The reason we love gross videos is because they trigger one of our many emotional triggers. The term 'gross' is just a synonym for 'disgust'. Our brains are naturally attracted to things that disgust us as they're intriguing.

“They also want to discover the undiscovered, so seeing something out of the ordinary is a learning opportunity. By learning opportunity, disgust works in the same way as fear. We watch scary movies too partly live through this emotion in a safe place.

“The same thing goes for watching these 'gross' videos, we get to see what it would be like to experience events that we wouldn't usually experience.”

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