5 Tips to Take a Great Exam!

Learning how to take an ear exam can be a lot like learning to ride a bike; it may be challenging and a little confusing at first but with some practice you can become an expert. Whether you’re new to looking inside your family’s ears and working with a sick, squirmy child or you’ve been doing so for a while, our favorite insider tips will help you make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Choose The Right Sized Tip

The Oto comes with two different sized tips: infant and standard. You can tell the difference by the baby icon on the base of the infant tip.

Help 3

Both tips are designed with a wide base to prevent them from going too far into the ear canal or hurting your child. In fact, it is very common for parents who are new to the process to underestimate how far they need to go into the ear to get a clear picture. The infant sized tip is slightly narrower so that it can fit inside smaller ear canals.  Try the infant tip for children 18 months and younger. Although it seems counterintuitive, a tighter fit in the canal is more comfortable and safer for your child. If you are unsure which size to use, try a standard tip first. Remember to clean the reusable tip when you’ve finished the exam.

  1. Get Familiar With The Oto

hold-positionsIt’s important for both the examiner and the examinee to be comfortable when taking an exam. There is no right way to hold the Oto when taking an exam so figure out what works best for you. Make sure that you can brace the head of the person whose exam you are taking and still see your phone screen. Many of our users recommend holding the Oto like a pencil, between your pointer and thumb finger.

Also, remember to start the recording before heading into the ear so that you don’t have to push the button while bracing your child. Each video will allow you to record for up to two minutes, so take your time getting to the right spot.

  1.  Get Your Examinee Comfortable (and Distracted)

When taking an exam on a small child, they may squirm.  Help get your examinee comfortable and in a position that will minimize head movement. Our co-founder, Amy, has found that resting her son’s head on a pillow while he focuses on a book or iPad can keep him still long enough to get a good image.
Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.13.11If your child tends to squirm a lot, enlist the help of another adult to hold them still while you take the exam. Don’t underestimate the power of a good distraction. A yummy snack or a few minutes with the iPad can work wonders.Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.16.05

Already have a great technique that works for your family? We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to support@cellscope.com with your story or comment on this post (pictures and videos are always appreciated)!

  1. Pull Back The Ear Flap and Insert The Tip

One of the most common mistakes made by parents who are new to taking ear exams is forgetting to pull back the ear flap.pull earWhen you pull back the ear flap, the ear canal straightens so that when the Oto is inserted it is easier to find the eardrum. Our Eardrum Finder helps guide you to the eardrum by directing you with a green arrow until you see the words “That’s It!” on the screen. Continue recording the area immediately around the eardrum for a few more seconds. This way you can ensure that you’ve taken the best possible exam.

Not sure if you’ve found the eardrum? Feel free to submit your exam anyways, we won’t charge you for an exam that’s not diagnosable.

If you would like to learn more about what a healthy eardrum and an infected eardrum look like, click here.


  1. Practice On Healthy Ears

mom checking daughters earYou’ve heard it a million times before, but practice really does make perfect. The best way to be prepared for when someone gets sick is to test out the Oto beforehand. If you have young children, practice on an adult first so that you can get used to the feeling of inserting the tip into the ear and identifying the eardrum. Once you feel more comfortable, try it out on your kiddos. The more a child is familiarized with the ear exam when they are healthy, the more likely they will be to comply with an exam when they aren’t feeling so great. Confidence is key, the more sure you are, the more comfortable your child will be. If you need some inspiration check out our video tutorials or give us a call.

Questions? Feel free to contact us any time by emailing support@cellscope.com or by calling 888-930-6490.

Don’t have an Oto yet?  Get yours today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s