It used to be if you wanted to see inside your ear you’d make an appointment with your health professional. Digital camera technology has improved over the years and made it possible for tiny video cameras to be inserted inside your ear canal to give consumers a clear view of their eardrums and canal. This makes it possible for people to examine their own ears, clean out their own ear wax, and also provide valuable information to their doctors during a telehealth appointment.

Why would you want to look inside your ears?

The most common reason to look inside your ears is because they are irritated or itchy, this is usually caused by earwax. It’s normal for your body to produce earwax, and it actually helps protect and lubricate your ears and keep bacteria out of your inner ear. Earwax’s anti-bacterial properties help make your ears self-cleaning, but sometimes it can build up or get clogged. If it does build up inside your ear canal then you should clean out the wax to prevent your hearing from being impaired. A digital otoscope can also help you clean out your ears. They have different attachments that can help scoop out any excess earwax and relieve discomfort.

What are some methods to look inside your own ears at home?

When you go to the doctor, they usually use a traditional otoscope to examine your ears. A traditional otoscope is basically a magnifying glass with a handle, a light, and a cone-shaped tip that is inserted into the outer section of the inner ear. However, if your ears are just a little irritated and you aren’t in pain, instead of going to the doctor it might be nice to know how to see inside your own ear canal. Modern digital otoscopes are available that are essentially small video cameras with special macro lenses and LED lights to record photos and video how to see inside your own ear canal. A digital otoscope is the best way to perform a self examination of your ears.

How to see inside your own ear canal using an otoscope

Although most ear exams take place in a doctor’s office, modern electronics make it possible for most consumers to learn how to see inside your ear at home. A modern approach to ear examination is to use a digital otoscope with ring light and speculum. ScopeAround makes a number of ear scope inspection cameras for this purpose. The speculum is placed on the tip and prevents it from being inserted too far and touching your ear drum. LED lights illuminate the ear canal and help you see the eardrum and take photos or video of what you see. Digital otoscopes usually are connected to a mobile device via a wire or WiFi connection, or they have their own LCD screen. If you are doing a self-examination you would use the screen to see inside your ear.

Is it safe to look inside your own ears?

If you follow basic safety precautions and read the instruction manual that is included with the device then it is safe to look inside your own ears. The most important thing is to avoid over insertion and contact with your eardrum as it is very sensitive and easily injured. Additionally, although it is safe to look in your ear, if you are experiencing any symptoms of an ear infection (see below), whether that is bacterial or viral, you should seek advice about what to do next from a health professional.

When should you go to a doctor?

Symptoms of ear infection include some, or all, of the following:

  • Ear pain: This symptom is obvious in older children and adults. In infants too young to speak, look for signs of pain like rubbing or tugging ears, crying more than usual, trouble sleeping, acting fussy/irritable.
  • Loss of appetite: Pressure in the middle ear changes as you swallow, this can cause your ears to “pop” when you eat - a normal process made painful by the infection and causing a loss of appetite.
  • Irritability: Loss of appetite, pain, poor balance and fever can all cause irritability.
  • Poor sleep: The combination of ear pain and pressure can make it especially difficult to sleep.
  • Fever: Ear infections can cause temperatures from 100° F (38 C) up to 104° F.
  • Drainage from the ear: Yellow, brown, or white fluid that is not earwax may seep from the ear. This may mean that the eardrum has ruptured (broken).
  • Trouble hearing: Bones of the middle ear connect to the nerves that send electrical signals (as sound) to the brain. Fluid behind the eardrums slows down movement of these electrical signals through the inner ear bones.
  • Poor Balance: Your ears help you maintain good balance, but an infected ear interferes with this system so you may feel dizzy.

Conclusion

Ultimately, ears are self-cleaning, and earwax is natural and healthy to have in your ear canal, but if it builds up too much then it should be removed. Modern digital otoscopes are great to use for ear self examination, allowing you to see if you have some signs of a clogged ear or infection and determine whether or not you should seek professional help. Digital otoscopes are also good tools to remove excess earwax at home as well as excellent ways to get doctors more information during virtual health examinations. Shop ScopeAround's ear scope cameras today!