Ex-zookeeper’s ear phobia is so bad she throws up at the hairdressers

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A woman terrified of ears once to threw up when a hairdresser brushed them during a trim.

Holly Hardy-Johnson, 36, has suffered from aftiphobia – a fear of ears – for as long as she can remember which has often left her anxious to the point of vomiting.

Not only does she hate having her ears touched, Holly cannot stand the thought of touching another person's ear, although animals' seem to be fine.

As a result of her condition, the teacher from Nantwich, Cheshire, avoids getting her hair cut but has now decided to take the plunge for a good cause.

Speaking to CheshireLive, Holly said: "I've always had a problem with people touching my ears and I can't touch other people's ears.

"It's a very strange thing. I was a zookeeper for many years and the only ears I was fine with were animals'.

"I've always avoided haircuts. I always wait until I absolutely have to go. Most women find it a pleasurable experience, I just do it because it needs to be done.

"It can be awful. In the past I've been sick when I've gone and had my haircut. I'm anxious the whole time, I have to sit on my hands to stop myself from jumping about.

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"Just the whole process from going through the hairdressers' door to leaving is awful. The hairdressers are always wonderful, it's just me."

She has previously struggled to book hair appointments in advance as she becomes too anxious during the wait and has to go into a salon to get her cut done there and then.

But despite the extreme fear, Holly has decided to brave the cut for charity.

With hairdressers now back open following months of closure, Holly said she needed to pay a visit but decided that she wanted to use it to try and benefit someone.

She is hoping to raise a total of £550 for the Little Princess Trust by cutting off more than seven inches of her hair at Salon 21 in Nantwich.

The target is roughly the amount it costs for someone going through the process with the charity.

Holly said: "My theory on it is that we've all lived through a pandemic, but children and young people have gone through it with serious health conditions – that's a different ball game."

She has as of Thursday raised more than £300, which she described as "unbelievable" but said it was as much about raising awareness as it was about the money.

Holly is due to have her haircut on Saturday afternoon (May 22) and donations can be made by going to the Just Giving page.

  • Money
  • Animals
  • Cancer

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