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  • Otoscopy Basics and The Best Otoscope Brands
Otoscopy Basics and The Best Otoscope Brands

Otoscopy Basics and The Best Otoscope Brands

Affecting both adult and paediatric patients, ear problems are a common occurrence in general practices. With an otoscope and tuning fork, GPs, ENT Specialists, paediatricians and trained medical staff will be able to diagnose the majority of ear complaints without the need for further investigation. A quality otoscope will provide the right amount of illumination as well as magnifying the ear canal with clarity. Check out the SSS Australia range of otoscopes.

Basics of Ear Anatomy

The eardrum itself is a thin, semi-transparent pearl coloured membrane protected by a fine piece of skin on the outside and a mucous covered membrane on the inside. The umbo (the centre of the eardrum) is connected to and pulled towards the manubrium (handle of the hammer). The middle ear is made up of the malleus, ossicles and the incus (commonly called the hammer, anvil and stirrup). The middle ear cavity is protected by the Cellulae mastoideae, air-filled cavities that guard against trauma and helps with regulating air pressure. 
The eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the nasal-sinus cavity and is vital in equalizing pressure in the middle and helping to drain fluid when needed. The eustachian tube allows the eardrum to vibrate as it transmits sound, opening every time you swallow. Infection and inflammation of the middle ear occur most often from the eustachian tube.

What to look for in a healthy ear

  1. Structure: Certain structures should be clearly visible, like the Anulus fibrocartilagineus and manubrium. They become less defined when inflammation is present
  2. Responding to light: the otoscope reflects light in certain areas of the ear. Normally a triangular light is reflected in the lower right quadrant of the eardrum. If the relection is not visible or has moved, a pathological issue may be present
  3. Colouring: The eardrum should be pearl coloured and semi-transparent and will look reddish when inflamed
  4. Movement: A working eardrum should vibrate with no restrictions. The movement can be checked with a pneumatic otoscopy check and predominantly detectable in the posterior upper quadrant.

Basic Otoscopy Process

  1. Examine the outer ear canal looking for redness or tenderness
  2. Look for blockages or excess wax.
  3. Choose the biggest ear tip that can easily be inserted in the ear canal. Turning the tip clockwise will help lock it into place.
  4. Stretch the ear canal upwards and backwards for adults and downwards for children.
  5. There are 2 way to hold and otoscope:
    1. Pistol grip – holding the otoscope between the thumb and finger with the little fingers resting on the patient’s forehead
    2. Pencil grip – otoscope is gripped in the palm of the hand and index finger rests on patents cheek
  6. Make sure tip is not inserted too far to avoid damaging the boney areas of the ear canal

Halogen (XHL) Versus LED for Illumination & Colour

Many older otoscopes used halogen bulbs, which are not durable and required replacing when they blew. Utilizing new technology, LED bulbs last a long time (up to 20,000 hours) and provide a much higher level of illumination and colour quality. Halogen bulbs emit more of a bluish white light while LED’s produce a much brighter and whiter light.


Why Choose Heine Otoscopes

Heine otoscopes offer precision in sharpness, colour rendering and light intensity. Built with a strong metal housing, high quality LED bulbs and Li-ion batteries, Heine otoscopes are built to perform at a high level for a long time. All Heine otoscopes have a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty.

Li-ion batteries last twice as long as NiMH batteries and the Heine BETA 400 will fully charge in just two hours. Multi-coated precision optics produce 3x magnification in the BETA 200 and an impressive 4.2x magnification the BETA 400 Heine Otoscope model. The K180 and mini 300 models use acrylic optics and still feature 3x magnification.

All Henie disposable tips are now made from recycled plastics and offer a comfortable secure fit, impressive light transmission and superior hygiene. Sizes are Ø 2.5mm and Ø 4mm and come in packs of 250 or 1,000. Reusable tips are made from shockproof SANALON S plastics and available in Ø 2.4mm, Ø 3mm, Ø 4mm and Ø 5mm sizes.

For more information check out the Heine Otoscopes.

Why Choose Hillrom Welch Allyn Otoscopes

The latest otoscope models from Hillrom Welch Allyn feature LED bulbs, fiber optic illumination and dimmable rheostats for precise light control. Fiber optic technology provides a more concentrated, direct light which results in very little light being lost. This quality of light gives more visibility and clarity and means the otoscope does not need to be moved around to change the viewing angle. Newer models have a 3x larger area of view when compared to standard otoscopes and up to 4x brighter illumination using the latest Welch Allyn LumiView™ Clear Single-Use Ear Speculas.

IExaminer is available with the Plus models, enabling this user to attach a smartphone to the otoscope to capture high quality images throughout the examination. 

Newer Hillrom Welch Allyn Otoscopes are powered by the latest Lithium Ion 3.5V batteries and feature heads and handles that can be bought separately if needed. Otoscopes can be purchased on their own or as part of desktop, wall mounted and portable sets and chargers. Older models come with a 3-year warranty while the latest models have 5 years.

For more information check out our Hillrom Welch Allyn Otoscopes.
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