Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Position of Otoscope for Ear Exam
ear exam can find problems in the ear canal, eardrum, and the middle ear.
During an ear exam, a tool called an otoscope is used to look at the outer ear
canal and eardrum. The otoscope has a light, a magnifying lens, and a
funnel-shaped viewing piece with a narrow, pointed end called a speculum.
The doctor holds the otoscope in one hand and uses his or her free
hand to pull the outer ear gently up and back. This straightens the ear canal
and helps the doctor see inside the ear. In babies younger than 12 months, the
doctor will gently pull the outer ear down and back.
Some young children have frequent ear infections and earaches. Parents of these children can be trained by their doctor to do home ear examinations.
If you are
doing a home ear exam with an otoscope, be sure to look into the otoscope
before you move it forward. Make sure you can see the path of the ear canal.
You do not need to insert the viewing piece very far into the ear.
tip of the viewing piece slightly toward the person's nose to follow the normal
path of the canal. While you look through the otoscope, move it gently at
different angles so that you can see the ear canal walls and the eardrum. Stop
at any sign of increased pain.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.