Ear examination

What is Ear Examination?

The Ear Examination is a diagnostic procedure performed by a doctor to identify and diagnose any health issues or abnormalities concerning the external and internal ear. By taking a close look at the patient’s ears, the doctor can evaluate the condition of the patient’s hearing, physical characteristics of the ear, and identify any underlying medical issues. Ear Examination can detect signs and symptoms of ear infection, ear pain, tinnitus and other hearing related problems.

Preparing for the Ear Examination

Before the examination, it is best to clean your ears with a cotton bud and wipe the earlobes to make sure the doctor has an unobstructed view of the ear canal. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and refrain from wearing any makeup or cosmetics that may obstruct the view. Also, make sure to inform the doctor if you have previously undergone any ear surgery or ear canal injury.

Procedure of the Ear Examination

During the Ear Examination procedure, the doctor will first inspect the external ear in the form of a visual exam. This includes looking at the earlobes, ear canal, and the external structures of the ear. This examination is conducted to observe the shape of the ear and identify any changes in color, scars, wounds, inflammation, cysts, or other abnormalities.

After the external ear exam, the doctor may also use an otoscope to look further inside the ear. An otoscope is a handheld instrument which has a light and a magnifying glass. This instrument helps in monitoring diseases like chronic infection or blockages in the ear. The otoscope can also detect any presence of fluid, wax, or foreign objects.

Types of Ear Examination

  • Pure Tone Auditory Test – This type of test is done to measure the hearing sensitivity and detect any hearing loss. The patient has to wear a headphone and is asked to respond to different frequencies and sounds.
  • Impedance Audiometry – This type of test is done to access the middle and inner ear structures. During the test, a small probe is inserted to the ear canal which produces sound and changes in air pressure.
  • Tympanometry – This type of test is done to detect any ear problems by measuring the movement of the eardrum.
  • Acoustic Reflection – This type of test is done to measure the performance of the ear. During the test, sound and air pressure are used to measure the reflexes of the ear.

Risks Involved in Ear Examination

Although the risks involved in an ear exam are minimal, certain risks are associated with the use of the otoscope. These risks include pain, bleeding, and dizziness. The risks may be more prominent in patients who suffer from ear infections or inflammation. For this reason, it is important that the doctor takes extra care while performing the examination.

Why is an Ear Examination Necessary?

While the symptoms of inner ear issues are sometimes difficult to detect, the Ear Examination is an important procedure to help the doctor diagnose any underlying medical issues. In some cases, the symptoms of ear related medical issues can also arise due to other health issues. Therefore, it is important for the doctor to identify the exact cause of the issue so that an appropriate treatment plan can be prescribed for the patient.

When Should the Ear Examination be Conducted?

It is recommended to undergo a regular Ear Examination for individuals who have any existing medical issues or conditions related to the ear. Furthermore, it is good practice to undergo this procedure once a year even for those individuals with a healthy ear as it helps diagnose any potential early signs and symptoms of an underlying ear condition.