Test Overview

An ear exam is a thorough check of the ears. It is excellent to screen for ear problems, such together hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. One ear exam have the right to find problems in the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. These problems may incorporate infection, too lot earwax, or an item like a p or a bead.

During one ear exam, a tool referred to as an otoscope is offered to look at the outer ear canal and eardrum. An otoscope is a handheld tool with a light and a magnifying lens. It likewise has a funnel-shaped viewing piece with a narrow, sharp end dubbed a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has a rubber bulb the your doctor have the right to squeeze to provide a puff of air right into the ear canal. The air help the physician to see exactly how the eardrum moves.

Why the Is Done

An ear exam may be done:

As component of a routine physical exam. To display screen babies and also children for hearing loss. To discover the reason of symptoms such as earache, a emotion of press or fullness in the ear, or hearing loss. To inspect for overfill wax buildup or things in the ear canal. to see exactly how the treatment for one ear trouble is working.

How to Prepare

It is vital to sit an extremely still during an ear exam. A young child should be lied down through his or her head turned to the side. Or the child might sit on one adult"s lap through the child"s head resting securely on the adult"s chest. Enlarge children and also adults have the right to sit through the head tilted slightly toward the the contrary shoulder.

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

How that Is Done

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

For one ear exam, the doctor supplies a special tool referred to as an otoscope to look into the ear canal and see the eardrum.

Your physician will gently traction the ear ago and slightly as much as straighten the ear canal. Because that a baby under 12 months, the ear will certainly be traction downward and also out to straighten the ear canal. The doctor will then insert the pointed end (speculum) the the otoscope into the ear and also gently relocate the speculum through the center of the ear canal to prevent irritating the canal lining. The medical professional will look at at each eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Using a pneumatic otoscope lets your physician see what the eardrum watch like. It additionally shows exactly how well the eardrum moves as soon as the push inside the ear canal changes. It help the physician see if there is a difficulty with the eustachian tube or liquid behind the eardrum (otitis media with effusion). A regular eardrum will certainly flex inward and outward in an answer to the changes in pressure.

How that Feels

The physical exam of the ear making use of an otoscope normally isn"t painful. If you have actually an ear infection, placing the otoscope into the ear canal may cause mild pain.

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The pointed finish of the otoscope have the right to irritate the lining of the ear canal. This can regularly be avoided by placing the otoscope in slowly and carefully. If the otoscope walk scrape the lining the the ear canal, that could cause bleeding or infection, however this is rare.


Results of an ear exam



Ear canals differ in size, shape, and also color. The ear canal is skin-colored and lined with tiny hairs and usually some yellowish brown earwax. The eardrum is usually pearly white or irradiate gray, and also you have the right to see v it. Also, among the small bones in the middle ear have the right to be seen. The eardrum moves slightly as soon as a puff of waiting is blown right into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling on the external ear reasons pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled through yellowish environment-friendly pus. The eardrum is red and also bulging or looks dull and also slightly traction inward. Yellow, gray, or amber fluid or bubbles space seen behind the eardrum. there is a feet in the eardrum (perforation) or whitish scars on the surface ar of the drum. The eardrum does not relocate as it have to when a puff of waiting is blown right into the ear.

Related Information


present as of: December 2, 2020

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


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NOTICE: This health and wellness information to be not developed by the university of Michigan health System (UMHS) and also may not necessarily reflect certain UMHS practices. For medical advice relating to your an individual condition, please consult your doctor. Finish disclaimer