The medical device used in checking the interior of the ears through the ear canal is an otoscope. With the use of otoscopes, doctors diagnose illness or infection when presence of fluids or pus is present in the middle of the ear. Ear infection is a common childhood problem usually accompanied by fever and pain. Other infections detected by otoscopes are middle and outer ear infections. While otoscopes are primarily intended for the ears, they are also used for examining the nose and upper throats.
An otoscope is not a complicated tool but modern technology has added new features to the classic otoscope for extra precision and function. Today, video otoscopy is already an essential tool in hearing healthcare. A video otoscope uses a video-optical technology that enables thorough examination of the ear through high resolution color video. Most otoscopes used in healthcare institutions are wall-mounted, which are powered by electricity. Others use portable battery-powered otoscopes, the type of unit that you can easily purchase for your household. If you are going to buy your own otoscope, a couple of suggestions can help.
- Buy according to your need. If you are buying this for home use, you may not need sophisticated otoscopes unless you have fair knowledge in ear anatomy or otoscopy. If you have a child or anyone at home who has recurring ear problems, you might need to get a home otoscope simply for regular monitoring on any symptoms of ear infection prior to consulting your doctor. Usually, home otoscopes have illustrations or instruction sheets that can help you identify what you are supposed to look for. Some otoscopes come with a few reusable specula in different sizes tailored for ears of children and adults. If you are a medical student, you may need something more precise like the ones doctors use or a complete diagnostic set to detect even the slightest problem of the ear interior.
- Shop and compare prices. Home otoscopes can be purchased at your local drugstores or medical supplies stores at affordable prices. Naturally, prices vary depending on the brand. You can select from trademarks like Heine, Pocketscope, Welch Allyn, Riester and many others. The most convenient way to shop for otoscopes is over the Internet. You can find otoscopes made by a number of manufacturers and do a product and price comparison.
Once you have your own otoscope, read the instruction sheet that comes with the package prior to using the device. Know if the specula are reusable or disposable. Classic otoscopes have disposable specula thus it is not safe to reuse them, especially if you are going to use it on several people. Ensure that the speculum is wiped clean every time your otoscope is used. If you are uncertain about the proper use of otoscopes, it is best to bring the patient or your child to the doctor. The ear is a sensitive organ and can possibly get damaged during ear inspection. Rather than playing doctor, it is wise to consult a professional physician who can diagnose the condition properly and recommend corresponding treatment.