Bizarre New 'Removal' Body Modification Trend
Warning: graphic images ahead.
An Australian man has taken the body modification trend to the extreme by having the inside of both his ears removed.
The 22-year-old man, known as Charles V. Bentley on Instagram, reportedly travelled from Melbourne to Sweden to have it done.
Bentley had what is called a 'conch removal' which involves the surgical removal of part or all of the central part of the outer ear or the 'concha' -- also known as the auricle or the pinna.
The removal was done by Stockholm-based piercing and body modification artist Chai Maibert who runs CALM Body Modification studio.
Maibert wrote in an Instagram post showing a picture of Bentley's ears stitched up that he was "Truly humbled!" to perform the body 'mod.'
He went on to "get some facts straight" about how the procedure affects a person's hearing.
"This procedure doesn’t make you deaf. It might impair your ability to hear the direction of sound for the first week or two until your mind has adjusted to your new ears. Hearing from behind will in fact improve," Maibert wrote.
"Our ears doesn't [sic] 'catch' sound as it did eons of years ago when our ears were bigger hence why we have to create a bigger 'ear' by cupping our hand around our ear to hear better," he added.
Bentley reportedly had the conch removal to "achieve a more unique look," according to the Daily Mail.
Despite Maibert's request that commenters "Remember to #BeCuteOrStayMute when commenting because I will block you if you’re being rude" some people on Facebook have been less than supportive of the body mod trend.
"I bet his ears whistle when he rides his vegan bicycle," one commenter wrote.
"Ah, I see you’ve ordered the attention seeking package, how may I guide your unemployment experience today?" another said.
"On behalf of all white people I would like to apologize for Chad. He knows not what he does," said another.
Medical experts are also questioning the practice -- one was Maryam Ghaderi, head of audiology at the hearing centre House of Hearing in Toronto, Canada.
According to her, the outer ear is responsible for how well we hear.
"If you have that part missing, I would guess a bit of your hearing would be affected -- probably your sense of localising sound," she said according to CTV News.
"To say how much in terms of a percentage of hearing loss is hard to say," she added.
Body modification -- also known as body alteration -- is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance. It's done for many reasons such as aesthetics, sexual enhancement, rites of passage and religious beliefs.
Today, ear piercing is the most common form of body modification -- though tattooing is also widespread.
Body modification is not new. Archaeological evidence shows that people in Africa were stretching their lower lips with plates as far back as 8700 BC -- the custom is continued by a few groups today.
Maibert also performs other body modifications such as scarification, implants, tongue splitting and nipple/belly button removal.
He also likes to show off his own mods -- including rings inserted under the skin of his hands -- on his Instagram.
He shared this photo of his client who has star-shaped silicone implants placed under his skin by Maibert nine years ago.
"Still looking awesome," he wrote.
Another of Maibert's clients reportedly travelled from the Netherlands to have their tongue split in half. According to him, the procedure takes 20 minutes and costs about $920.
"Fresh little hand carved silicone #implant on one of my old regulars," wrote Maibert on Instagram.
Some clients have their belly buttons and nipples removed.
Maibert also offers earlobe reconstruction where a stretched or otherwise altered earlobe is sewn back together.
"This has nothing to do with regrets. It’s called changing ones mind about something and doing something about it. Remember that we all have the right to change our opinion about how we want to look," he wrote on Instagram.
When body mods go bad
In August 2018, a NSW body modifier was charged with manslaughter after a plastic snowflake he allegedly implanted under a woman’s skin allegedly gave her a fatal infection. Earlier in the year, the same man was charged over female genital mutilation for a separate procedure performed in 2016.
In November, a young Australian man died in the United States after his involvement in a modification procedure as part of a sadomasochistic relationship.
These recent cases have resulted in renewed calls for stricter regulation of body modification businesses in Australia to ensure the health and safety of customers.
Feature image: Instagram/@chaiatcalm.