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How to choose a better otoscope?

Views:20     Author:SunnyWorld     Publish Time: 2018-09-27      Origin:Medisave

Today the modern otoscope aside of ear exam can also be used to observe the nasal passages of patients, as well as the upper throat and the oral cavity. What used to be a simple tool addressing the cause of ear pain in patients has now evolved into the sophisticated instrument that serves a variety of uses in the medical setting today.

In selecting the best otoscope in the market,there are some important selection criteria one should keep in mind.

the first thing to decide is one’s budget. Otoscopes are no cheap tools, and it should, therefore, be one’s goal to look for a compromise between quality and cost. The performance of otoscopes meanwhile must be judged regarding light source technology and strength of magnification, both very important features of an effective instrument for patient examination. Next, as these tools must ideally be designed for repeated use, the comfort of both patient and user should be factored in its structural design. How easy is it to use? How comfortable is it for the patient? These are questions that must be answered sufficiently to make a confident otoscope purchase. Finally, another important feature of otoscopes is how long they will last. In buying an instrument as expensive as these specialty tools, one must look into the product’s lifespan and available warranty from the brand.

Next, we will introduce in detail from several aspects.

Select the most convenient size

Otoscopes come in two different sizes – standard and pocket.

When choosing which size of otoscope is right for you, consider the environment where you’ll be using it and the types of patient you’re likely to encounter.

The smallest otoscopes are pen-sized, including a clip to hold them securely in your pocket. Lighter than the full-size models, their construction is normally not as robust, so they’ll probably have a shorter lifespan. Metal pocket clips will generally outlast plastic clips.

Choosing the functions you want

The standard head on an otoscope comprises a lamp and a magnifying lens (typically 2.5x or 3x magnification), allowing you to get a good look inside the ear.

This lens is often removable, allowing instruments, such as a Jobson Horne probe, to be inserted through the specula and into the ear canal. This can be useful for procedures such as removing a foreign body from inside the ear.

Most models permit pneumatic otoscopy, with a port for an insufflation bulb.

The macro viewer is a variant on the standard head, boosting magnification to 4.2x. Some models also allow adjustable focusing. These instruments can be particularly useful for medical professionals who are long-sighted.

Power for your otoscope

There are three different options for powering an otoscope – disposal batteries (typically AA size), rechargeable batteries and a permanent connection to a power source.

The pocket-sized models generally take one or two AA batteries, although some use other types of disposable battery. The batteries are housed within the instrument’s handle.

Otoscopes nearer the top of the range may give the option of rechargeable batteries. Some models come with multiple handles which house the batteries and allow one to be recharged while the other is in use.

Permanently wired otoscopes generally come with a bracket for wall-mounting, along with a transformer for the power supply.

The otoscope lamp

You have a choice when it comes to the light source of your otoscope – use a filament bulb (either halogen or xenon) or use an LED bulb.

Additionally, you’ll need to choose between a direct light source and an indirect, or fibre optic, option.

When new, filament bulbs, particularly halogen, can give off a very strong, clear light that’s ideal for distinguishing detail inside the ear canal. Unfortunately, these bulbs do dim with use, their light can become inconsistent, and their lifespan is generally measured in tens of hours.

Where LEDs really beat filament bulbs is with their lifespan, which can be thousands of hours. Many otoscope manufacturers guarantee their LED bulbs for several years. Because LEDs offer excellent brightness and consistency of light for lower power, they don’t dim so quickly and offer considerably longer battery life.

Selecting reusable or disposable specula

Selecting between reusable and disposable specula is unlikely to influence your choice of otoscope, as most can be used with either. Generally they come in multiple sizes, to suit adult and paediatric use.

Unlike reusable specula, disposables don’t require complete decontamination after use because they are simply removed and binned. Some models of otoscope include a specula ejection system, meaning there’s no need to touch the contaminated item after use.

While specula are very similar, we recommend that you use the appropriate brand for the manufacturer of your otoscope.

In summary: When selecting an otoscope you most definitely need to consider:size, functions, power source, bulb type, light source, reusable or disposable specula, purchase price.


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