An ear exam is performed when a wellness treatment provider looks inside your ear using an instrument dubbed an otoscope.

You are watching: Instrument used for visual examination of the ear

The provider may dim the lights in the room.

A young boy will be asked to lie on their back through the head turned to the side, or the child"s head may rest against an adult"s chest.

Older kids and also adults might sit via the head tilted towards the shoulder oppowebsite the ear being examined.

The provider will certainly gently pull up, earlier, or forward on the ear to straighten the ear canal. Then, the pointer of the otoscope will certainly be inserted gently right into your ear. A light beam shines via the otoscope into the ear canal. The provider will closely move the scope in different directions to check out the inside of the ear and also eardrum. Sometimes, this watch may be blocked by earwax. An ear specialist may usage a binocular microscope to get a enhanced look at the ear.

The otoscope may have actually a plastic bulb on it, which delivers a tiny puff of air right into the external ear canal when pressed. This is done to view just how the eardrum moves. Decreased motion deserve to suppose that there is fluid in the middle ear.

How to Prepare for the Test

No preparation is necessary for this test.

How the Test will certainly Feel

If tbelow is an ear infection, there might be some discomfort or pain. The provider will certainly sheight the test if the pain aggravates.

Why the Test is Performed

An ear exam might be done if you have actually an earache, ear infection, hearing loss, or various other ear symptoms.

Evaluating the ear also helps the provider see if therapy for an ear trouble is working.

Regular Results

The ear canal differs in dimension, shape, and shade from person to perkid. Generally, the canal is skin-colored and has actually small hairs. Yellowish-brvery own earwax might be existing. The eardrum is a light-gray color or a shiny pearly-white. Light need to reflect off the eardrum surface.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Ear infections are a widespread trouble, specifically through small kids. A dull or absent light reflex from the eardrum may be a sign of a middle ear infection or fluid. The eardrum may be red and also bulging if there is an infection. Amber liquid or bubbles behind the eardrum are frequently viewed if liquid collects in the middle ear.

Abnormal outcomes may also be as a result of an external ear infection. You can feel pain once the external ear is pulled or wiggled. The ear canal might be red, tender, swollen, or filled through yellowish-green pus.

The test might likewise be done for the adhering to conditions:

External ear infection - chronicHead injury


An infection have the right to be spread from one ear to the other if the instrument used to look inside the ear has not been cleaned well.


Not all ear troubles have the right to be detected by looking via an otoscope. Other ear and hearing tests may be needed.

Otoscopes marketed for at-house usage are lower high quality than the ones used at the provider"s office. Paleas might not be able to identify some of the subtle indications of an ear trouble. See a provider if tbelow are symptoms of:

Severe ear painHearing lossFever

Alteraboriginal Names




Murr AH. Approach to the patient via nose, sinus, and also ear disorders. In: Goldguy L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 398.

Wareing MJ. Ear, nose and also throat. In: Glynn M, Drake WM, eds. Hutchison"s Clinical Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 21.

Woodson E, Mowry S. Otologic symptoms and also syndromes. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and also Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 137.

Updated by: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltieven more, MD. Also reregarded by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conamethod, Editorial Director, and also the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

See more: Which Sentence Best Explains Why Modern English Reflects The Influence Of Several Languages?

Ear DisordersRead even more
Ear InfectionsRead even more
Hearing Disorders and also DeafnessRead more

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Page last updated: 01 September 2021