What’s that thing you’re sticking in my ear?
Sometimes when you go to the doctor for a checkup, he or she sticks a pointy flashlight-looking instrument in your ear. Pretty much every time you see an audiologist, you get the same experience. Ever wondered exactly what it is the doc is sticking in your ear, and what it does?
It’s called an otoscope, and it’s used to evaluate for illness and investigate ear-related symptoms. The otoscope contains a small light and a magnifying lens that increases visibility for the doctor using the scope. Before your exam, the doctor or audiologist will attach a disposable tip to the instrument that is called an ear specula. By positioning the ear speculum of the otoscope just inside the ear, the audiologist is able to examine the ear canal.
The otoscope is a useful tool used during the ear exam that helps identify problems with hearing and ear health such as illness, earwax buildup or lodgement of a foreign object.