Test Overview

An ear exam is a thoturbulent examine of the ears. It is done to display screen for ear difficulties, such as hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. An ear exam can discover troubles in the ear canal, eardrum, and also middle ear. These troubles may include infection, too a lot earwax, or an item prefer a bean or a bead.

During an ear exam, a tool called an otoscope is used to look at the external ear canal and eardrum. An otoscope is a handorganized tool through a light and a magnifying lens. It likewise has actually a funnel-shaped viewing piece through a narrow, pointed end referred to as a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has actually a rubber bulb that your doctor have the right to squeeze to provide a puff of air right into the ear canal. The air helps the doctor to view just how the eardrum moves.

Why It Is Done

An ear exam may be done:

As component of a regimen physical exam. To display screen babies and kids for hearing loss. To find the cause of symptoms such as earache, a feeling of push or fullness in the ear, or hearing loss. To examine for excess wax buildup or an object in the ear canal. To see how the treatment for an ear trouble is functioning.

How To Prepare

It is essential to sit exceptionally still during an ear exam. A young kid need to be lying dvery own via his or her head turned to the side. Or the kid may sit on an adult"s lap through the child"s head resting secudepend on the adult"s chest. Older kids and adults can sit with the head tilted slightly toward the opposite shoulder.

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Your doctor may have to rerelocate earwax in order to check out the eardrum.

How It Is Done

An ear exam deserve to be done in a doctor"s office, a college, or the workarea.

For an ear exam, the physician offers a special tool called an otoscope to look into the ear canal and check out the eardrum.

Your doctor will certainly gently pull the ear ago 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 medical professional will then insert the pointed end (speculum) of the otoscope into the ear and gently relocate the speculum via the middle of the ear canal to avoid irritating the canal lining. The medical professional will look at each eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Using a pneumatic otoscope lets your physician watch what the eardrum looks favor. It likewise shows just how well the eardrum moves as soon as the press inside the ear canal changes. It helps the doctor watch if tright here is a problem through the eustachian tube or fluid behind the eardrum (otitis media via effusion). A normal eardrum will certainly flex inward and outside in response to the transforms in push.

How It Feels

The physical exam of the ear making use of an otoscope typically isn"t painful. If you have actually an ear infection, putting the otoscope right into the ear canal might 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 have the right to often be avoided by placing the otoscope in gradually and closely. If the otoscope does scrape the lining of the ear canal, it might cause bleeding or infection, however this is rare.


Results of an ear exam



Ear canals differ in size, shape, and color. The ear canal is skin-colored and lined through small hairs and also typically some yellowish brown earwax. The eardrum is generally pbeforehand white or light gray, and you have the right to see with it. Also, one of the tiny bones in the middle ear have the right to be viewed. The eardrum moves slightly as soon as a puff of air is blown right into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling on the outer ear causes pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled through 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 seen behind the eardrum. Tright here is a hole in the eardrum (perforation) or whitish scars on the surconfront of the drum. The eardrum does not relocate as it must once a puff of air is blvery own into the ear.

Related Information


Current as of: December 2, 2020

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


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NOTICE: This health information was not created by the College of Michigan Health System (UMHS) and also might not necessarily reflect certain UMHS techniques. For medical advice relating to your individual problem, please consult your physician. Complete disclaimer