Test Overview

An ear exam is a thorough examine of the ears. The is done to screen for ear problems, such as hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. One ear exam deserve to find problems in the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. These troubles may encompass infection, too lot earwax, or things like a bean or a bead.

During one ear exam, a tool dubbed an otoscope is offered to look in ~ the outer ear canal and eardrum. One otoscope is a handheld tool through a light and also a magnifying lens. It additionally has a funnel-shaped viewing item with a narrow, pointed end referred to as a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has actually a rubber bulb the your doctor have the right to squeeze to offer a puff the air right into the ear canal. The air help the medical professional to see how the eardrum moves.

Why it Is Done

An ear exam may be done:

As part of a program physical exam. To display babies and children for hearing loss. To uncover the reason of symptoms such as earache, a emotion of pressure or fullness in the ear, or listening loss. To inspect for excess wax buildup or an item in the ear canal. to see exactly how the therapy for one ear trouble is working.

How come Prepare

It is crucial to sit really still during an ear exam. A young child have to be lying down through his or she head turned come the side. Or the child may sit on one adult"s lap with the child"s head resting securely on the adult"s chest. Older children and also adults have the right to sit through the head tilted slightly towards the opposite shoulder.

You are watching: Visual examination of the ear is called:

Your doctor may need to eliminate earwax in bespeak to see the eardrum.

How the Is Done

An ear exam deserve to be excellent in a doctor"s office, a school, or the workplace.

For an ear exam, the doctor uses a unique tool dubbed an otoscope to look into the ear canal and see the eardrum.

Your medical professional will gently traction the ear ago and slightly approximately straighten the ear canal. Because that a infant under 12 months, the ear will certainly be pulled downward and out come straighten the ear canal. The medical professional will climate insert the pointed finish (speculum) that the otoscope into the ear and also gently move the speculum through the center of the ear canal to protect against irritating the canal lining. The medical professional will look at at each eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Using a pneumatic otoscope lets your medical professional see what the eardrum looks like. It also shows how well the eardrum moves once the pressure inside the ear canal changes. It help the doctor see if there is a difficulty with the eustachian tube or fluid behind the eardrum (otitis media with effusion). A common eardrum will flex inward and outward in an answer to the transforms in pressure.

How it Feels

The physical exam of the ear using an otoscope commonly isn"t painful. If you have actually an ear infection, placing the otoscope into the ear canal may reason mild pain.

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The pointed end of the otoscope have the right to irritate the lining of the ear canal. This can often be avoided by placing the otoscope in slowly and carefully. If the otoscope go scrape the lining the the ear canal, that could reason bleeding or infection, but this is rare.


Results of one ear exam



Ear canals vary in size, shape, and color. The ear canal is skin-colored and also lined with tiny hairs and also usually some yellowish brown earwax. The eardrum is typically pearly white or irradiate gray, and also you can see through it. Also, one of the small bones in the middle ear can be seen. The eardrum moves slightly when a puff of waiting is blown right into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling top top the outer ear reasons pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled v yellowish green pus. The eardrum is red and also bulging or watch dull and also slightly traction inward. Yellow, gray, or amber liquid or bubbles space seen behind the eardrum. there is a hole in the eardrum (perforation) or whitish scars on the surface of the drum. The eardrum walk not relocate as it must when a puff of air is blown right into the ear.

Related Information


current as of: December 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff clinical Review: Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics E. Gregory Thompson MD - internal Medicine kathleen Romito MD - household Medicine Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology

Author: Healthwise staff

Medical Review:Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics & E. Gregory Thompson MD - internal Medicine & catalen Romito MD - household Medicine & Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology


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