Smoke-Free Homes Good For Little Ears

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Today is World No Tobacco Day and there is never a better time to quit smoking than now. There are plenty of personal health reasons for giving up tobacco, but if you have children we have one more for you.

Did you know that exposure to secondhand smoke increases your child’s risk of developing an ear infection?¹ These kids also have fluid in their ears more often and undergo more operations to put in ear tubes than kids with non-smoking parents.²

Secondhand smoke is thought to contribute to ear problems in several ways.

Exposure to tobacco smoke:

  1. increases mucus production,
  2. damages the cilia (fine hairs) lining the eustachian tube that help transport mucus,
  3. weakens the immune system’s ability to fight against organisms that cause ear infections

When you quit you will have a healthier home and family, and that is a great gift! Ready to say goodbye to tobacco and need some help? You’ll find some great resources at to help you on that journey.



1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.
2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fact Sheet, Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke (Accessed May 2014)
3. Greene, A. 1997. The Parent’s Complete Guide to Ear Infections. New York: Avon Books.  

Pioneer Spotlight: Pediatrician Dr. Frank Baum

Frank R. Baum, M.D., a Pediatrician in Kahului, Hawaii is today’s Pioneer Spotlight. Dr. Baum has been in practice for 29 years, and has been using the Oto in his clinic for the past few months. He even took an video of his own, healthy-looking eardrum seen below!

Dr Baum's Right TM taken with the CellScope Oto

A snapshot of Dr. Baum’s Right eardrum taken with the CellScope Oto.

We interviewed Dr. Baum about his experience adopting the Oto technology and this is what he shared:

CS: How did you hear about the CellScope Oto?
Dr. Baum: I saw the Cellscope Oto mentioned in an article in Contemporary Pediatrics on technology and decided to learn more about the product.

CS: What led you to join the Oto Pioneer Program?
Dr. Baum: I have always tried to show parents infected eardrums using my regular otoscope, but I could never be sure they were seeing it. They always seemed to be drawn to the amount of wax and not what I wanted them to see. I was excited to try the Cellscope Oto.

CS: How have you integrated the Oto in your practice?
Dr. Baum: I have been trying to utilize the Oto as much as possible, especially when there is something of interest. Normal ears are not as fun to share with the patient as the infected ones!

CS: What do your patients think of the Oto?
Dr. Baum: The parents and children are amazed and excited to see inside the ear. When I pull out my phone to examine and record the ear exam, they are anxious to see what I have been looking at in their previous visits.

CS: How has the Oto impacted your practice so far?
Dr. Baum: I have enjoyed being able to capture interesting findings and show the video or photo to the child and parent. I cannot wait until my first foreign body can be recorded.
The children have been thrilled with photos of their eardrum, and actually cooperate a little better when they know that I am recording a video for them to watch.

CS: From your perspective, how do you see mobile health technology changing healthcare in the next 5 or 10 years?
Dr. Baum: Instead of parents calling and questioning whether or not their child is telling the truth about a sore ear, I imagine they will be sending me a video or photo for my opinion.


Thank you to one of our stellar Pioneers, Dr. Baum, for sharing his experience so far!

Why Clinicians Love The Oto!

We’ve compiled a short list of some reasons why our 600 Pioneer clinicians are loving using the Oto in their clinical practice. Check it out!

1. Engage Patients

I enjoy showing patients their ear examination – Hopefully they will understand their condition better. This has taken the place of my digital Otoscope from Welch Allyn.

– Dr. Jeoffry Wolens (Pediatrician, Texas)

2. Be The Go-To Doc

“I love this thing and parents are so excited about it. They are telling all their friends that I use it. They now ask for me when they need ear pain checked in office as I am the only one with an Oto!”

– Dr. Louay Keilani (Pediatrician, California)

3. Educate Parents

I have used the Oto to compare an exam to a previous one on follow-up. I was able to show a mom the eraser in her daughter’s ear this week!  I showed another mom that the day prior to seeing her daughter for an otitis media that her ears were normal at her well check up!

– Dr. Sloane Sevran (Pediatrician, California)

4. Medicate Meaningfully

“Parents come to me with expectations of antibiotics every time their child has a fever, cough, or pulling at the ears. This tool allows me to show them exactly why I am not giving antibiotics.”

– Dr. Steven Sample (Emergency Medicine, Indiana)

5. Confirm Your Clinical Diagnosis

I have text messaged a photo from the app to a doctor whom I believed had misdiagnosed otitis media. Doc was impressed. Good rapport builder.

– Dr. Michelle Gross (Audiologist, Colorado)

5. Don’t Miss Infections: 

“If it weren’t were for the Oto’s superior magnification and clear imaging, I would have missed an infection with my traditional otoscope.”

– Dr. Robert Quillin (Pediatrician, Texas)

6. Keep a Digital Record of Ear Exams

“Little patient’s ear was normal at well-visit. 2 weeks later, came back to clinic with ear infection. Captured both with CellScope.”


– Dr. Natasha Burgert (Pediatrics, Missouri)

7. Replace Your Outdated Traditional Otoscope

This has been the best electronic gadget, I have had!!! 🙂 My patients love it, both parents and the children. The view is so clear, I think I can’t live without it. Thank you Cellscope 🙂

– Dr. Carmen Marila Tavernas (Pediatrician, Utah)

8. Don’t Spend Money on Expensive Scopes

I consider the technology that allows the use of the smartphone to record an ear video without the cost of expensive scope instruments a big revolution.

– Dr. Elias Milgram (Pediatrician, Florida)

9. Teach Medical School Interns and Residents

“It’s an excellent tool for medical school and resident education.”

– Dr. Lawrence Lustig (Otolaryngologist, California)

10. Be On The Forefront of Remote Care

If parents have a CellScope (Oto in the home), they can transmit the pictures and we can keep kids out of the office in some circumstances

– Dr. Edward Lewis (Pediatrician, New York)

If you have additional reasons why you love using the Oto (or if you are not a Pioneer: why you would love using the Oto in your daily practice), tell us in the comments below!

Pioneer Spotlight: Dr. Nick Benson, AuD

Dr. Nick Benson with the CellScope Oto

Dr. Nick Benson taking a CellScope Oto selfie.

Our latest Pioneer of the Week is Pediatric Audiologist “>Dr. Nick Benson! Dr. Benson practices at the Providence Speech and Hearing Center in Mission Viejo, CA. His pediatric services range from newborn neurodiagnostics to hearing aid fittings. In a recent interview we asked Dr. Benson to give us insights on how he uses the Oto in his practice.

CS: How did you hear about the CellScope Oto?
Dr. Benson: At the 2013 Phonak Pediatric Conference in Chicago. 

CS: What led you to join the Oto Pioneer Program?
Dr. Benson: I think it’s an incredible use of technology because it’s easily accessible and improves the patient care experience.

CS: How have you integrated the Oto in your practice?
Dr. Benson: I use it to review otoscopy findings and to involve parents. It is also great for educating students and consulting with other professionals.

CS: What do your patients think of the Oto?
Dr. Benson: Everyone asks if it is my phone, to which I say “yes.” Most people say they’ve never seen anything like it before and they admire how far technology has come. It’s led to great conversations!

CS: How has the Oto impacted your practice so far?
Dr. Benson: Very positively. It helps immensely when communicating with patients about my diagnosis, especially when there are no signs or symptoms of infection.

CS: From your perspective, how do you see mobile health technology changing healthcare in the next 5 or 10 years?
Dr. Benson: I think a greater percentage of health care will move to mobile models in order to augment existing services. I anticipate a huge demand in rural communities and even in developing nations to provide state-of-the-art care through mobile devices. Using a phone to increase accessibility to health care is immensely attractive given that we know even people in developing world  have wide access to mobile phones.

Thank you, Dr. Benson for being an early adopter of the Oto and one of our beloved Pioneers.

Pioneer Spotlight: Dr. Leonard Reeves

We did it! We’re pleased to announce that there is now a CellScope Pioneer in every state in America (yep, all 50 of them) and Puerto Rico! We couldn’t have done it without you and our amazing Pioneers spreading the word to their colleagues and friends. A special thank you and warm welcome goes out to Dr. Oliveri for helping us set the record by adding the great state of New Hampshire to our map.

Speaking of our great Pioneers, we are delighted to name Dr. Leonard Reeves as our latest Pioneer of the Week. Dr. Reeves is a seasoned Family Physician from Rome, GA with 21 years of experience. We asked Dr. Reeves to give us his take on the Oto and how technology is transforming health care.


Dr. Leonard Reeves (image courtesy of Georgia Regents University)

CellScope (CS): How did you hear about the CellScope Oto?
Dr. Leonard Reeves: At the 2013 American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP) Assembly in San Diego, CA.

CS: What led you to join the Oto Pioneer Program?
Dr. Reeves: The awesome technology; the Oto gives better evaluations and allows me to share with my students and patients.

CS: How have you integrated the Oto in your practice?
Dr. Reeves: It’s a great teaching tool. Rather than rely on what my students can see (or think they see) I can look at the ear at the same time they do, and even replay the video recorded exam later if I need to.

CS: What do your patients think of the Oto?
Dr. Reeves: They are impressed, and amazed that they can actually see in their own ear (something they could never do before)!

CS: How has the Oto impacted your practice so far?
Dr. Reeves: It’s great for serial evaluations and for following acute problems. Patients can see what I am describing to them, and have a better understanding of what the issues are. I mostly see adult patients in the Free clinic, but I think there would be an educational opportunity for parents if children were involved too.

CS: From your perspective, how do you see mobile health technology changing health care in the next 5 or 10 years?
Dr. Reeves: I think as handheld technology continues to improves, so will health care. This will not replace the human element in the room, but it certainly gives us (physicians) more opportunity to educate patients, identify issues that may not have been noted before, and also would give an opportunity for easily capturing referral information.

Thanks for sharing with us Dr. Reeves, we are lucky to have you as a CellScope Pioneer!