What is an ear examination?

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An ear examination, also called an "otoscopy," is a visual examination of the outer and inner parts of the ear, including the eardrum, using a medical instrument called an otoscope that is equipped with a light. Doctors and other medical professionals may perform an ear examination to find the cause of pain or other symptoms affecting the ear. An ear examination can help a doctor diagnose the following problems:
  • infection of the outer or inner ear
  • dental problems or teething in young children
  • foreign objects in the ear
  • injury to the ear 
  • hearing loss
  • fluid in the middle ear
  • cholesteatoma (a skin cyst in the middle ear)
  • perforated eardrum
During the examination, the doctor may carefully remove excess earwax in the ear canal if it is blocking the view of the eardrum.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.