February 21, 2023
Otoscopy is a clinical procedure that is used to examine the inner structure of the ear which consists of the ear canal and tympanic membrane or ear drum. It is generally performed to identify any ear-related problems like hearing and balancing issues. This procedure is done with a specialized tool called an otoscope or auriscope which emits light to visualize ear conditions.
An otoscope is composed of three parts –
- Head-Upper most parts that contain a light source and a low-magnifying lens.
- Handle- Provide grip to the device and have a power source of light.
- Cone-It is the extended part which will be inserted into the ear canal for the examination.
Otoscopes are available in a variety of sizes, from the ones which are operated by electricity to the more prevalent and portable battery-operated models. Some otoscopes can be paired with a smart device to visualize and capture an image for further studies.
Types of Otoscopy-
It can either be monocular or binocular. The monocular device will only provide a 2-D view of the ear canal and some portion of the ear drum. But a binocular device provides a 3-D view of the ear canal with a much larger and deeper part of the ear. Wax and other materials do not restrict the visualization and have more magnification than monocular otoscopes. Cost is the only barrier to binocular otoscopes for their widespread use in general medicine.
Some of the diseases which can be diagnosed by otoscope are-
- Otitis media- Inflammation in the middle ear due to bacterial infection.
- Otitis externa- Inflammation in the outer part of the ear i.e., the ear canal became swollen and causes pain which can lead to a decrease in hearing ability.
- Ear eczema-Condition of constant itchiness inside the ear which can lead to inflammation.
This condition can also be used to remove or visualize earwax or cerumen, shed skin, pus, canal skin edema, foreign bodies in the ear canal etc. It is also used in regular check-ups and to investigate ear symptoms such as ear feeling full, earache or hearing loss.
RISK AND COMPLICATIONS
- Discomfort during the procedure because of cone insertion into the ear canal.
- It may tear or perforate the eardrum to relieve pressure and pain.
- After completion of the procedure, some may feel dizziness, imbalance, nausea etc.