Ear infections are not to be ignored. Its symptoms are not always noticeable and can even come and go. When left unaddressed, the problem in the ear canal can worsen over time. Luckily, there are otoscopes you can use at home to detect if a family member has an issue with their ear canal. An otoscope is a medical device used to screen for illnesses inside the ears. It features a lens and light to give a clear view of the eardrum and check for ear symptoms. It is able to detect problems such as earwax, infections, or other obstructions. Aside from ENT specialists, it is also used by nursing students, medical interns, and clinical clerks.
Not all otoscope kits are created equal. Some are of poor quality and can be difficult to use. If you intend to use yours at home or for personal use, you will want a kit that is easy to handle. We compared different home otoscopes on the market to make your search for the best ones much easier. See our list of the most reliable otoscopes available online.
- Can a home otoscope detect signs of ear inflammation?
Answer: Yes. Most otoscopes sold for home use have a magnification of 2.5 to 3, which is enough to detect signs of foreign objects in the ear canal.
- What does an ear infection look like in an otoscope?
Answer: An infected eardrum will look red and swollen in an otoscope, while a healthy eardrum will look clear and pinkish-gray.
- How do you clean an otoscope?
Answer: To clean the exterior of your otoscope, wipe down its head and handle with 70% isopropyl alcohol solution soaked in a lint-free cloth.
Our Top Picks
RA Bock 3.2v LED Otoscope
- With protective case
- 5x magnification
- 3 reusable specula
- Chrome-plated brass
Detect for ear infections with this otoscope. It uses a special bright white 3.25 volt Bosch LED lamp which can be powered by 2 standard C-sized alkaline batteries or rechargeable C cell batteries. Its chrome-plated brass handle utilizes a bayonet luer locking mechanism for changing the instrument heads. This otoscope uses optical quality glass lenses which have been specially coated to help resist scratches. It is complete with 3 sizes of reusable specula and comes with a disposable specula attachment.
Doctor Mom Otoscope 5th Generation Professional Otoscope
- Incandescent light spectrum
- Large optical glass lens
- Designed by an experienced ER physician
- Bright and clear
Check for healthy or infected eardrums with this otoscope. Designed by an experienced ER physician, it uses the brand’s largest optical glass lens which is scratch resistant and clear. It uses a soft white incandescent light spectrum for exceptional brightness. This otoscope has a very low power consumption and is powered by 2 C cell batteries. It includes 30 high-resolution eardrum photos and detailed instructions.
Surgicalonline Fiber Optic Mini Otoscope
- With case and extra bulb
- Fits in pocket
- Comes in many colors
- Clear visibility
Diagnose a variety of ENT conditions with this mini otoscope. It emits a warm steady bright light so you can clearly see the eardrum. It comes in many colors to match your nursing supplies and equipment. This otoscope is created with top-quality materials for an accurate, effective performance. It can fit easily into your pocket, purse, or medical bag. It comes with a carry pouch case and spare bulb.
Firefly Global DE550 Wireless Digital Video Otoscope
- 50x magnification
- With built-in battery
- Dual lenses
- 3-layer glass
Wirelessly capture pictures and videos of the eardrum with this digital otoscope. It observes and records in real time and transmits within a range of up to 30 feet. It has a built-in snapshot button and rugged industrialized construction. This otoscope has 4 ultra-bright LED lights with fully adjustable brightness. Its built-in 850mAH battery provides more than 3 hours of continuous usage. It comes with an advanced image capture software and supports Win8/7/XP and MacOS-X 10.4 or higher.
Koolertron Visual Digital Otoscope
- With earwax removal cleaning tool
- Large screen display
- Easy operation
Inspect the tympanic membrane with this digital otoscope. It is plug and play, so you can press the button to operate it, view a live video of your ear, and remove your earwax completely and safely. It uses LED lights for brightness and clarity. This otoscope does not require a Wi-Fi connection or for you to download any app. It can capture clear snapshot images and quality videos. You can save your photos and videos to the inserted and included 8GB memory card, then send it to your healthcare professional for a quick and easy consultation.
E.N.T. Pocket Light Otoscope and Cerumen Management Set
- Bright lamp
- 3x magnification
- Includes spare lamp module
- Water resistant
Examine your ears with this otoscope. It includes an ENT pocket light, otoscope with reusable speculum, 2 reusable ear curettes, 10 single-use ear curettes with adaptor, a spare Xenon lamp module, adult and pediatric sized ear specula, and an adaptor for standard disposable specula. With a bright Xenon lamp and 3x magnification, it provides excellent visualization. This otoscope accepts standard disposable specula and comes in a durable plastic case for easy portability and storage. It is popular with audiologists, pediatrician, school nurses, and nurse practitioners.
When choosing an otoscope, it is important to take note of the lens and light used. You need a clear view of the ear to be able to detect for abnormalities, and these otoscopes are a great choice for home and personal use.