As strange as it might sound, some medical conditions can be diagnosed with a simple at-home examination. All you have to do is to get a reliable otoscope and use the instructions given by your doctor. You can easily check your ear, nose, and even your mouth before getting alarmed that you suffer from a severe disease.
An ear examination made at home is a visual check of the ear canal along with the eardrum camera using a special tool called otoscope. This handheld instrument is outfitted with a light, a magnifying lens, a viewing piece in a shape of a funnel with a narrow in the top, and the pointed end also known as a speculum.
The reason why many physicians recommend doing a home ear check-up is that it’s a great opportunity for detecting health issues such as excessive earwax, ear infections, or small objects stuck in the ear canal.
Once you receive proper instructions and a little bit of training from your doctor, you can start using this tool for many situations.
Parents are the ones interested in getting an otoscope for their home because young children are prone to having earaches and infections. There are cases when that’s the only symptom caused by a fever. Just make sure you consult a medical expert if you have any doubts that something is wrong in the ear canal area. Even if you get a cheap otoscope, make sure that it functions properly and that the magnifying lens isn’t faulty.
Most common reasons why you need to do a home era examinations is to either look for signs of infections when a person is complaining of an ache, check for an object or insect in the ear or inspect whether there’s an earwax buildup if someone says they have a hard time hearing or they feel a big pressure in the ear.
You don’t have too many any special preparations because this procedure is a non-invasive one. Simply clean the ear speculum using hot water and soap, unless it’s not a disposable instrument.
As far as the ear examination goes, it significantly depends on the person you are doing the inspection. If you need to do a check-up for a child, let him or her lie down with the head turned on a side. If possible, put the little one in an adult’s lap so he or she can rest the head on the adult’s chest. Adults are easier to handle as long as they tilt their head a tad toward the opposite shoulder. The sitting position is the best if you think it might be the case of an otitis media with effusion disease or fluid behind the eardrum.
Next step, you select a large speculum that fits effortlessly into the ear canal and slowly attach it to your otoscope.
As a useful piece of advice, if the person is complaining about earaches, has this problem in only one ear, you should check the healthy one first and then move forward to the affected ear. This way you can compare the two areas and check for infection symptoms or other diseases a lot easier.
At first, you might have a hard time trying to hold the otoscope. It’s not a big deal because with practice you can develop skills you never thought you have.
During an ear examination for an adult or a child past the age of 1, hold the instrument using one hand and let the free hand pull the outer part of the ear gently, first up and then back. This order is extremely vital because it allows you to straighten the ear canal and get a clearer view.
On the other hand, babies need to be handled differently so make sure you lightly pull the outer ear down instead of up and then back.
After you’ve inserted the speculum into the ear canal, you can look into the otoscope. Since both sides of the ear canal are sensitive, avoid putting too much pressure in this area. Sometimes, using the person’s face as your hand support removes the risk or injuries because you’ll move your hand at the same time as he or she makes a sudden move.
Under no circumstance, move the otoscope without first looking into it and checking if you have a clear path. There’s no need to insert the speculum deep into the ear because the light of the otoscope allows you to view even from a reasonably far distance.
To see is an earwax blocking the ear canal, move the tip of the viewing tool slightly toward the nose so you can see the eardrum and the canal walls in full view. If you’re not certain you’re using the right examination method, ask your doctor for advice. Then, you can ask a few adults in your family or group of friends that don’t have an ear problem to practice on them. In the end, you’ll understand that is not a big deal using an otoscope for an ear examination done at home.
You don’t have to be stressed out thinking that you are causing pain to the person you are doing the otoscope intervention. The fact is that it’s a mild discomfort that fades away after a few seconds. Plus, it’s best to do the procedure at an early time when there’s still time to prevent further complications.