An otoscope is a medical instrument a light and magnifying lens used to exam the ear, outer ear, and eardrum. Otoscopes help physicians and veterinarians to diagnose ear infections and diseases. Air inflation otoscopy (pneumatic-otoscope) is very useful to evaluate middle ear disease. Otoscopes can also be used to exam the nose and upper throat areas.
Otoscopes come with a variety of light sources including halogen, LED and fiber optic light sources. Otoscopes are usually connected to a handle that contains a battery power source or connection to a fixed power source. Otoscopes are available in battery powered models that provide great portability, but come with higher risk of accidental damage, loss, or theft. Many medical facilities have wall-mounted otoscopes that are part of a panel of diagnostic instruments. These wall systems have integrated power systems and long cords for patient examinations.
Otoscopes come in standard and pocket sizes, ideal for use in a variety of different environments. Some larger standard models have a tough, chrome-plated brass exterior and use a rheostatic power switch to allow you to adjust the brightness of the light source when performing examinations. Some pocket otoscopes have a robust ABS housing with integral power switch that provide a more durable instrument.
For convenience, otoscopes use disposable ear specula. The selection of an appropriately sized specula is critical to ensuring proper use of the device and patient comfort. Younger patients who will have a narrow ear canal, select a smaller specula with a narrow profile. For adult patients, a wider specula can be used.
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