Test Overview

An ear exam is a thounstable inspect of the ears. It is done to display screen for ear difficulties, such as hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. An ear exam deserve to find problems in the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. These troubles may incorporate infection, as well much earwax, or an item prefer a bean or a bead.

During an ear exam, a tool referred to as an otoscope is used to look at the outer ear canal and also eardrum. An otoscope is a handorganized tool via a light and also a magnifying lens. It also has a funnel-shaped viewing item through a narrow, pointed end called a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has actually a rubber bulb that your medical professional have the right to squeeze to offer a puff of air right into the ear canal. The air helps the medical professional to watch just how the eardrum moves.

Why It Is Done

An ear exam may be done:

As component of a routine physical exam. To screen babies and also kids for hearing loss. To discover the reason of symptoms such as earache, a feeling of push or fullness in the ear, or hearing loss. To check for excess wax buildup or an item in the ear canal. To view how the therapy for an ear difficulty is working.

How To Prepare

It is necessary to sit exceptionally still in the time of an ear exam. A young child need to be lying dvery own through his or her head turned to the side. Or the son might sit on an adult"s lap through the child"s head relaxing secudepend on the adult"s chest. Older kids and also adults can sit with the head tilted slightly towards the opposite shoulder.

You are watching: An instrument used for visual examination of the ear is

Your medical professional might have to rerelocate earwax in order to watch the eardrum.

How It Is Done

An ear exam can be done in a doctor"s office, a college, or the worklocation.

For an ear exam, the doctor provides a one-of-a-kind tool referred to as an otoscope to look right into the ear canal and also see the eardrum.

Your physician will certainly gently pull the ear earlier and also slightly approximately straighten the ear canal. For a baby under 12 months, the ear will certainly be pulled downward and also out to straighten the ear canal. The medical professional will certainly then insert the pointed end (speculum) of the otoscope into the ear and gently relocate the speculum with the middle of the ear canal to avoid irritating the canal lining. The doctor will certainly look at each eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Using a pneumatic otoscope allows your doctor watch what the eardrum looks favor. It also mirrors how well the eardrum moves as soon as the push inside the ear canal transforms. It helps the doctor see if there is a trouble with the eustachian tube or fluid behind the eardrum (otitis media through effusion). A normal eardrum will flex inward and external in response to the alters in pressure.

How It Feels

The physical exam of the ear using an otoscope normally isn"t painful. If you have an ear infection, placing the otoscope right into the ear canal might cause mild pain.

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The pointed end of the otoscope can irritate the lining of the ear canal. This can frequently be avoided by placing the otoscope in gradually and also carefully. If the otoscope does scrape the lining of the ear canal, it can cause bleeding or infection, however this is rare.


Results of an ear exam



Ear canals differ in dimension, shape, and also shade. The ear canal is skin-colored and also lined via little hairs and commonly some yellowish brvery own earwax. The eardrum is typically pearly on white or light gray, and also you deserve to see via it. Also, among the tiny bones in the middle ear can be viewed. The eardrum moves slightly once a puff of air is blvery own right into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling on the external ear reasons pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled with yellowish green pus. The eardrum is red and bulging or looks dull and also slightly pulled inward. Yellow, gray, or amber liquid or bubbles are checked out behind the eardrum. Tbelow is a hole in the eardrum (perforation) or whitish scars on the surconfront of the drum. The eardrum does not relocate as it must once a puff of air is blown right into the ear.

Related Information


Current as of: December 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review:Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics & E. Gregory Thompboy MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology


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NOTICE: This health and wellness information was not created by the College of Michigan Health System (UMHS) and also may not necessarily reflect certain UMHS practices. For clinical advice relating to your personal condition, please consult your physician. Complete disclaimer