Sample Nursing Essays on Otoscope

Nurses and other healthcare practitioners use the otoscopic exam to determine whether a patient has an ear infection, identify any anatomical abnormalities in the external auditory canal and the tympanic membrane, and diagnose various ear-related conditions. One of the common symptoms that leads to the use of the otoscope is pulling on the ear(s).

Some of the normal assessment findings that might be observed if the individual does not have an infection include noticing that some of hair in the auditory canal have yellow or brown cerumen, the ear drum would be pinkish grey, in neutral position, and translucent. An abnormal finding could present with factors like reddening, bulging or inflammation of the tympanic membrane, presence of foreign bodies, presence of discharge in the ear that differs from the cerumen, opacity, and decreased mobility when using pneumatic otoscopy to examine the ear (Wilson & Giddens, 2014). These factors would support the symptom experienced by the patient.

The classification of symptoms as abnormal or normal is based on factors such as color, condition of the tympanic membrane, mobility, position, perforations, scarring, and discharge. The color of the eardrum could be pink and gray in normal circumstances and yellow, amber, red, or blue in case of infections. Mobility level of the ear is measures as 4+, 3+, 2+, 1+. The higher the value the more likely the ear is normal. The tympanic membrane position is usually described as being neutral when normal and bulging or retracted in case of abnormal findings (Proctor, et al., 2019). Understanding the different findings is essential in proper diagnosis.

The otoscope can help nurses to determine whether the symptom identified is an indication of infection or another ear condition. Individuals presenting with the symptoms of pulling of ear(s) can be correctly diagnosed using the otoscopic examination.




Proctor, D. B., Niedzwiecki, B., Pepper, J., Weaver, P. A., Garrels, M., & Mills, H. (2019). Kinn’s The Clinical Medical Assistant – E-Book: An Applied Learning Approach. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Wilson, S. F., & Giddens, J. F. (2014). Health Assessment for Nursing Practice – E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.