Test Overview

An ear test is a thorough inspect of the ears. It is done to display for ear problems, such as hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. One ear exam deserve to find troubles in the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. These troubles may encompass infection, too much earwax, or an item like a p or a bead.

During one ear exam, a tool called an otoscope is provided to look in ~ the external ear canal and also eardrum. One otoscope is a handheld tool with a light and a magnifying lens. It also has a funnel-shaped viewing item with a narrow, pointed end dubbed a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has a rubber bulb the your doctor can squeeze to give a puff the air right into the ear canal. The air help the medical professional to see exactly how the eardrum moves.

Why it Is Done

An ear exam might be done:

As part of a program physical exam. To display babies and children for hearing loss. To uncover the cause of symptom such together earache, a feeling of pressure or fullness in the ear, or hear loss. To check for excess wax buildup or things in the ear canal. come see just how the therapy for an ear problem is working.

How come Prepare

It is essential to sit an extremely still throughout an ear exam. A young child should be lying down through his or she head turned to the side. Or the child might sit on one adult"s lap with the child"s head relaxing securely top top the adult"s chest. Enlarge children and also adults can sit v the head tilted slightly toward the opposite shoulder.

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

Your doctor might need 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 workplace.

For one ear exam, the doctor uses a one-of-a-kind tool referred to as an otoscope to look right into the ear canal and also see the eardrum.

Your medical professional will gently traction the ear earlier and slightly up to straighten the ear canal. For a infant under 12 months, the ear will be pulled downward and out to straighten the ear canal. The medical professional will climate insert the pointed finish (speculum) the the otoscope right into the ear and also gently move the speculum through the center of the ear canal to protect against irritating the canal lining. The physician will watch at each eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Using a pneumatic otoscope lets your doctor see what the eardrum looks like. It also shows just how well the eardrum moves as soon as the push inside the ear canal changes. It help the medical professional see if there is a trouble with the eustachian tube or liquid behind the eardrum (otitis media with effusion). A normal eardrum will certainly flex inward and also outward in an answer to the changes in pressure.

How the Feels

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

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The pointed end of the otoscope can 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, the could cause bleeding or infection, however this is rare.


Results of one ear exam



Ear canals vary in size, shape, and color. The ear canal is skin-colored and lined with small hairs and also usually part yellowish brown earwax. The eardrum is generally pearly white or irradiate gray, and also you can see v it. Also, among the tiny bones in the middle ear have the right to be seen. The eardrum move slightly once a puff of wait is blown right into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling ~ above the outer ear reasons pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled through yellowish green pus. The eardrum is red and also bulging or watch dull and slightly pulled inward. Yellow, gray, or amber fluid or bubbles are seen behind the eardrum. over there is a hole in the eardrum (perforation) or whitish scars top top the surface of the drum. The eardrum go not move as it must when a puff of wait is blown right into the ear.

Related Information


existing as of: December 2, 2020

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


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