A basic overview of otoscopes and why you should consider purchasing one

September 12, 2014

An otoscope is also known as an auriscope, which is a medical tool to view the outer and middle ear, to diagnose for any ear illness or for regular checkups. Otitis media and Otitis externa are some ear conditions that can be diagnosed using an Otoscope. These include ear inflammation, parasites in the outer ear, ruptures in the ear drum, etc. This device is available with every ENT specialist and a paediatrician. Otoscopes are also used by audiologists to view the ear structure and analyse it. It is used to fit a right hearing aid.

Otoscope pictures, images, photos, pics

Description of an Otoscope

It has a head that has a light source with an 8 diopters magnifying lens.  The light source can be either L.E.D or fibre optics model. There is an ear funnel with an attachment at the front end for plastic ear specula that is disposable. These disposable ear specula come in three sizes of  2.5 mm for infants, 3.0 mm for children from 3 -12 and 4.0 mm for over 12 and adults.  It has a handle with a battery. The Otoscope is placed initially in the external ear without probing it, which enables to view the ear canal through the lens.  There is a bulb point in certain models of Otoscope to release an air puff in order to test tympanic membrane mobility. There are portable as well as wall mounted models in Otoscopes, which are powered by a battery and a power source, respectively.

How to use an Otoscope

  • Select a size of speculum that fits right into the patient’s ear without discomfort.
  • Otoscope should be held in the same side as the examined ear.
  • Use a pencil grip to reduce the risk as it allows the hand to rest on the temple of the patient. Hammer grip is also natural, but in risk of pressure.
  • The good ear needs to be examined first to avoid spreading infection and to see the anatomy of the patient’s ear.
  • Observe the pinna using the torch of the otoscope for wounds.
  • Endaural and postaural incisions are common scars found.
  • If there is eczema found around the meatus, then it can be otitis externa.

What can be seen using an Otoscope?

Here are some things that can be observed in people suffering with ear problems using an Otoscope:

  • Clear/ mucous fluid discharge
  • Scarred or normal ear drums
  • Post tubes
  • White fungal spots
  • Bloody discharge
  • Displaced tube in the ear canal
  • Traditional and t-style tubes

Why buy one for home?

There are so many variety to choose from; the best otoscope for home use can be a challenge to find.

An Otoscope will help in an ear examination right at home. It is easy to use and clean. It is essential at home with children who are frequently prone to earaches, colds and ear infections. This will assist in revealing earlier symptoms of infection and their intensity. It will help to view the ear canal for any foreign object or insect or wax, etc. other than infections and, which can be sources of ear pain. There is no hassle involved or preparation required in using it other than cleaning it thoroughly with soapy water and rinsing it later with normal water.

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