Otoscope - Image of an otoscope (center)
Anatomy of the human ear.
Right tympanic membrane as seen through a speculum.

An Otoscope or auriscope is a medical device which is used to look into the ears. Health care providers use otoscopes to screen for illness during regular check-ups and also to investigate when a symptom involves the ears. With an otoscope, it is possible to see the outer ear and middle ear.

Otoscopes consist of a handle and a head. The head contains a light source and a simple low-power magnifying lens, typically around 8 diopters. The distal (front) end of the otoscope has an attachment for disposable plastic ear specula. The examiner first straightens the ear canal by pulling on the pinna and then inserts the ear speculum side of the otoscope into the external ear. The examiner can then look through a lens on the rear of the instrument and see inside the ear canal. In many models, the lens can be removed, which allows the examiner to insert instruments through the otoscope into the ear canal, such as for removing earwax (cerumen). Most models also have an insertion point for a bulb capable of pushing air through the speculum which is called pneumatic otoscope. This puff of air allows an examiner to test the mobility of the tympanic membrane.

Many otoscopes used in doctors offices are wall-mounted, while others are portable. Wall-mounted otoscopes are attached by a flexible power cord to a base, which serves to hold the otoscope when it's not in use and also serves as a source of electric power, being plugged into an electric outlet. Portable models are powered by batteries in the handle; these batteries are usually rechargeable and can be recharged from a base unit. Otoscopes are often sold with ophthalmoscopes as a diagnostic set.

Diseases which may be diagnosed by an otoscope include otitis media and otitis externa, infection of the middle and outer parts of the ear, respectively.

Otoscopes are also frequently used for examining patients' noses (avoiding the need for a separate nasal speculum) and (with the speculum removed) upper throats.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • otoscope — [ ɔtɔskɔp ] n. m. • 1855; de oto et scope ♦ Méd. Petit tube muni d un dispositif d éclairage destiné à examiner l intérieur de l oreille (examen dit otoscopien. f.). ● otoscope nom masculin Instrument permettant l examen du conduit auditif du… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Otoscope — O to*scope, n. [Oto + scope.] An instrument for examining the condition of the ear. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • otoscope — [ōt′ə skōp΄] n. [ OTO + SCOPE] an instrument for examining the tympanic membrane and external canal of the ear …   English World dictionary

  • Otoscope — Un otoscope Examen otoscopique Un otoscope est un instrument médi …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Otoscope — Instrument for looking in the ear. Today, otoscopic or ophthalmoscopic heads can usually be attached to the base (which supplies the electrical power) to look at the ears or eyes. * * * An instrument for examining the eardrum. [oto + G. skopeo,… …   Medical dictionary

  • otoscope — noun Date: 1853 an instrument with lighting and magnifying systems used for visual examination of the tympanic membrane and the canal connecting it to the exterior of the body …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • otoscope — otoscopic /oh teuh skop ik/, adj. otoscopy /oh tos keuh pee/, n. /oh teuh skohp /, n. Med. an instrument for examining the external canal and tympanic membrane of the ear. [1840 50; OTO + SCOPE] * * * …   Universalium

  • otoscope — noun An instrument used for examining the eardrum and interior of the outer ear. Syn: auriscope See Also: otoscopy …   Wiktionary

  • otoscope — (o to sko p ) s. m. Terme de chirurgie. Instrument employé pour l examen du canal auditif. ÉTYMOLOGIE    Termes grecs signifiant oreille et examiner …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • otoscope — instrument for examining the ear Scientific Instruments …   Phrontistery dictionary

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