To examine the inside of your ear (the ear canal and the eardrum), your healthcare provider will use an instrument called an otoscope.
- An otoscope is a handheld tool with a light and a magnifying lens.
- It has a removable plastic tip shaped like a cone that allows the doctor to look inside your ear.
- A pneumatic otoscope has a rubber bulb that your doctor can squeeze to give a puff of air into the ear canal.
- The air helps the doctor to see how the eardrum moves.
Young children will be asked to lie on their backs with their heads turned to the side to allow the doctor to examine one ear at a time. Older children and adults can sit up, tilting their heads to the side to allow the doctor to examine each ear.
The tip of the otoscope is gently placed into your ear and a light is shone into your ear canal and down to your eardrum. The otoscope is carefully rotated in different directions to see the inside of your ear and your eardrum.
An ear exam may be slightly uncomfortable or painful if you have an ear infection. Your doctor will stop the exam and remove the otoscope if the pain worsens.