An otoscope is an instrument which is used to look into the ear canal. The ear speculum (a cone-shaped viewing piece of the otoscope) is slowly inserted into the ear canal while looking into the otoscope. The speculum is angled slightly toward the person's nose to follow the canal. A light beam extends beyond the viewing tip of the speculum. The otoscope is gently moved to different angles to view the canal walls and eardrum.
Review Date 3/1/2023
Updated by: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.