Test Overview

An ear exam is a thostormy examine of the ears. It is done to display for ear troubles, such as hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. An ear exam have the right to discover troubles in the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. These troubles may incorporate infection, also a lot earwax, or a things favor a bean or a bead.

Throughout an ear exam, a tool dubbed an otoscope is used to look at the external ear canal and eardrum. An otoscope is a handorganized tool via a light and also a magnifying lens. It additionally has a funnel-shaped viewing piece via a narrowhead, pointed end referred to as a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has a rubber bulb that your medical professional can squeeze to provide a puff of air right into the ear canal. The air helps the medical professional to check out how the eardrum moves.

Why It Is Done

An ear exam might be done:

As component of a program physical exam. To display screen babies and kids for hearing loss. To find the cause of symptoms such as earache, a feeling of press or fullness in the ear, or hearing loss. To inspect for excess wax buildup or an object in the ear canal. To watch just how the therapy for an ear problem is functioning.

How To Prepare

It is crucial to sit very still throughout an ear exam. A young son must be lying dvery own through his or her head turned to the side. Or the child might sit on an adult"s lap through the child"s head resting secucount on the adult"s chest. Older youngsters and also adults have the right to sit with the head tilted slightly towards the opposite shoulder.

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Your doctor might have to remove earwax in order to check out the eardrum.

How It Is Done

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

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

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

Using a pneumatic otoscope lets your doctor check out what the eardrum looks favor. It likewise mirrors how well the eardrum moves as soon as the press inside the ear canal transforms. It helps the doctor check out if tbelow is a trouble with the eustachian tube or fluid behind the eardrum (otitis media via effusion). A normal eardrum will certainly flex inward and outward in response to the transforms in pressure.

How It Feels

The physical exam of the ear utilizing an otoscope typically isn"t painful. If you have an ear infection, putting the otoscope into the ear canal might reason mild pain.

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The pointed finish of the otoscope can irritate the lining of the ear canal. This have the right to often be avoided by putting the otoscope in slowly and very closely. If the otoscope does scrape the lining of the ear canal, it could cause bleeding or infection, however this is rare.


Results of an ear exam



Ear canals differ in dimension, form, and also color. The ear canal is skin-colored and also lined through little hairs and also generally some yellowish brvery own earwax. The eardrum is normally pat an early stage white or light gray, and also you deserve to view through it. Also, one of the tiny bones in the middle ear can be checked out. The eardrum moves slightly as soon as a puff of air is blvery own into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling on the external ear reasons pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled via yellowish green pus. The eardrum is red and also bulging or looks dull and slightly pulled inward. Yellow, gray, or amber liquid or bubbles are viewed 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 should once a puff of air is blvery own right into the ear.

Related Information


Current as of: December 2, 2020

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


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