Test Overview

An ear test is a thorough examine of the ears. That is done to screen for ear problems, such together hearing loss, ear pain, discharge, lumps, or objects in the ear. One ear exam deserve to find problems in the ear canal, eardrum, and also middle ear. These problems may include infection, too much earwax, or an item like a p or a bead.

During an ear exam, a tool called an otoscope is used to look in ~ the external ear canal and eardrum. One otoscope is a handheld tool with a light and a magnifying lens. It likewise has a funnel-shaped viewing item with a narrow, spicy end referred to as a speculum. A pneumatic otoscope has a rubber bulb that your doctor have the right to squeeze to give a puff that air right into the ear canal. The air help the medical professional to see how the eardrum moves.

Why the Is Done

An ear exam might be done:

As part of a regime physical exam. To screen babies and children for hearing loss. To find the reason of symptoms such as earache, a emotion of press or fullness in the ear, or hearing loss. To check for overabundance wax buildup or an object in the ear canal. to see just how the treatment for one ear difficulty is working.

How to Prepare

It is crucial to sit really still throughout an ear exam. A young child should be lied down through his or her head turned come the side. Or the child might sit on one adult"s lap through the child"s head resting securely top top the adult"s chest. Enlarge children and adults have the right to sit through the head tilted slightly towards the opposite shoulder.

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Your doctor may need to remove earwax in stimulate to watch the eardrum.

How it Is Done

An ear exam deserve to be excellent in a doctor"s office, a school, or the workplace.

For one ear exam, the doctor uses a unique tool referred to as an otoscope come look into the ear canal and see the eardrum.

Your medical professional will gently traction the ear ago and slightly approximately straighten the ear canal. For a baby under 12 months, the ear will certainly be pulled downward and also out come straighten the ear canal. The physician will then insert the pointed finish (speculum) the the otoscope into the ear and gently relocate the speculum with the center of the ear canal to prevent irritating the canal lining. The physician will watch at every eardrum (tympanic membrane).

Using a pneumatic otoscope lets your doctor see what the eardrum watch like. It likewise shows exactly how well the eardrum moves when the press inside the ear canal changes. It helps the physician see if there is a trouble with the eustachian pipe or liquid behind the eardrum (otitis media through effusion). A regular eardrum will flex inward and also outward in solution to the transforms in pressure.

How it Feels

The physical exam of the ear using an otoscope normally isn"t painful. If you have an ear infection, placing the otoscope right into the ear canal may reason mild pain.

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The pointed end of the otoscope have the right to irritate the lining of the ear canal. This can frequently be avoided by placing the otoscope in slowly and also carefully. If the otoscope go scrape the lining of the ear canal, the could reason bleeding or infection, yet this is rare.


Results of an ear exam



Ear canals vary in size, shape, and color. The ear canal is skin-colored and lined with little hairs and also usually some yellowish brown earwax. The eardrum is typically pearly white or irradiate gray, and also you have the right to see through it. Also, among the tiny bones in the center ear can be seen. The eardrum move slightly once a puff of waiting is blown into the ear.
Touching, wiggling, or pulling ~ above the external ear reasons pain. The ear canal is red, tender, swollen, or filled v yellowish eco-friendly pus. The eardrum is red and also bulging or watch dull and slightly pulled inward. Yellow, gray, or amber fluid or bubbles room seen behind the eardrum. there is a hole in the eardrum (perforation) or whitish scars ~ above the surface ar of the drum. The eardrum go not move as it must when a puff of air 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 catalent 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 & kathleen Romito MD - family members Medicine & Charles M. Myer III MD - Otolaryngology


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NOTICE: This health and wellness information to be not developed by the university of Michigan health System (UMHS) and may no necessarily reflect details UMHS practices. For medical advice relating to your an individual condition, please consult her doctor. Finish disclaimer