Best Otoscopes Reviews
One of the main reasons medicine has advanced so much in the last few decades is technological development. There is no way of telling that a person suffers from something if you don’t have the right equipment to make a diagnosis. Nowadays, we don’t lack medical devices. Quite the contrary, technology advancement ensured that medical professionals have everything they need to make an accurate diagnosis. Everything from a simple digital thermometer to massive MRI machines can save someone’s life.
What is even better is that these medical devices keep getting better and better. New technology is being discovered every single day. Chances are that in a few more years, doctors will be able to say what is wrong with someone using a single machine. Honestly, I am looking forward to that.
One of the devices I am talking about is the otoscope. I know it seems basic. It’s just a cone that allows you to see into someone’s year, right? Wrong! It’s more than that. Modern otoscopes come with special lighting, fiber optics, and cameras. All that allows you to take a closer look into somebody’s ear.
What is an otoscope?
A cone that you can look through in someone’s ear is not exactly a definition, isn’t it? An otoscope is a medical device that helps a physician examine the structures of the inner ear. It is also known as an auriscope. It can help a doctor diagnose conditions that affect the ear, especially the middle part. The middle part is responsible for hearing and balance, which is why that area is the most important.
An otoscope is composed of three sections: the head, the handle, and the cone I was talking about in my most simple definition. As a doctor, you use the handle to grip the device. The handle also contains the power source for the light the device emits. The head is where the light bulb and the magnifying lens are located. The cone is the part that you insert in the patient’s ear canal. Otoscopes usually come in different sizes, from the wall-mounted one to the one that is handheld. The latter is preferred for various reasons like ease of use and portability, but in a hospital, you can find big ones as well.
How to choose the best otoscope
With so many models on the market, making a smart decision may prove more difficult than you think. They all promise the best results, but not all of them can deliver. So how can you possibly know which one to pick? The answer is easy. All you have to do first is to determine all the features you are looking and then start from there. Below you will find all the information you need to choose the best otoscope for you.
- ü Size – even the handheld otoscopes come in two different sizes, each with its advantages and disadvantages. You have the standard version and the pocket version. The latter is pen-sized and includes a clip so you can attach the otoscope securely in your pocket. It’s lighter than the standard version and is not as robust, which is why they tend to have a shorter lifespan. If you want a pen-sized otoscope, at least go for one that has a metal clip. It is known to last longer. The most important thing to remember here is that the size of the otoscope is dictated by your needs as a doctor. Consider where you are going to use it and on whom. Furthermore, look at the size of your hands. If your hands are large, handling a pen-sized otoscope may prove to be a little tricky.
- ü Functions – usually, an otoscope comes with a lamp and a magnifying lens (2.5x or 3x magnification.) That should be enough to take a close look at one’s inner ear. However, some models bring more features to the table. Some of them have a removable lens that can allow the insertion of the specula in your patient’s ear. That is a common procedure, usually for removing foreign objects from inside the ear. Also, most models allow pneumatic otoscopy, with an insufflation bulb. Moreover, if you are long-sighted, then I recommend an otoscope with adjustable focusing and a macro viewer that will boost the magnification to 4.2x.
- ü Power source – in this day and age, most people prefer rechargeable batteries. That is because it’s a lot more convenient to plug in the device than to purchase new batteries from time to time. Pen-sized models almost always take 2 AA batteries that you have to insert in the handle. However, if you go for a high-quality, top of the range otoscope, you have the option of choosing rechargeable batteries. Permanently wired otoscopes come with a transformer for the power supply.
- ü The lamp – there are many options when it comes to lighting. You can choose from a filament bulb (usually halogen or xenon), or you can go for a LED bulb. Personally, I recommend the LED, for obvious reasons. The light is stronger, and the bulb lasts a lot longer than a filament. You also get to choose from direct light source and indirect, or fiber optic. I will explain the fiber optic part a little bit later. Besides the differences I mentioned above, the filament bulbs and the LED have a couple more. For instance, when the filament is new, the light will provide perfect visibility, it will be strong. However, that changes with time and the bulb will become inconsistent. LED, on the other hand, is always consistent and is improving all the time. Not to mention that a LED bulb has an excellent color rendering index. That will allow you to see the inside of the ears in true colors.
- ü Fiber optics – a lot of models use fiber optics. The reason why is quite simple. The fiber optic filament directs the light from the filament bulb or LED bulb to a ring around the specula. That ensures nothing will obstruct your vision through the lens. Otoscopes with a direct light source don’t need fiber optics. But the rest of them do.
Other things may influence your decision, but they are not as important as the ones I mentioned above. For example, you can choose an otoscope with reusable or disposable specula, but that is according to your preferences. Other things as color, purchase price, and lifetime cost of ownership may have a say in your decision making as well.
What are the best otoscopes?
If you do a simple search, you will notice that there are hundreds of models out there. It’s impossible for one doctor to have tried them all. However, there is another way to find out if a particular product is high-quality or not. All you need to do is read some reviews. That way you can get some honest opinions from people who actually bought and used that particular device. Here are a few examples.
4th Generation Dr. Mom LED Pocket Otoscope
The Dr. Mom Otoscope is a pen-sized otoscope that will meet virtually all your needs as a medical professional. The bright, full spectrum LED light is shock resistant, but try not to drop it too often. It’s very small, after all. The product uses a single AA battery, but because the bulb is LED, that battery will last for an extended period of time.
The lens is made of high-quality glass that is scratch resistant. Magnification is possible to a certain extent. It will give you the best crystal clear look inside the ear. Add that to the LED light, and there is nothing you can miss. The true colors of the light will allow you to catch any abnormality, big or small.
This otoscope uses standard disposable specula. Most conventional specula found in clinics and hospitals is the Welch Allyn type, which 4th Generation Dr. Mom is compatible with. It comes with both large and small size for use in adults and children. The product has a completely sealed system and a female insufflator outlet for use with a male insufflator bulb. Same as before, Welch Allyn Insufflator bulbs are compatible with this otoscope.
As an extra feature, the otoscope can also be used as a very bright throat illuminator. All you have to do is simply unscrew the otoscope head, and you can use it as a multi-purpose penlight. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
RA Bock Diagnostics LED Otoscope Set
This is actually the new and improved version. The RA Bock 3.2V Bright White LED Otoscope set includes the otoscope itself, the disposable specula adapter and 3 sizes or reusable specula. You will also receive a zippered leather case for safe and hygienic storage. Or maybe you want to carry it around for house calls. Either way, the case does come in handy.
The lens is made of high-quality glass that allows a 5x magnification. So even if you are long-sighted, you will still be able to see everything you need to see in your patient’s ears. The lens is also scratch resistant. We all know how easy diseases spread, which is why the RA Bock otoscope comes with a disposable specula adaptor. Usually, most models have only the specula which aredisposable. But this model reduces the risk of spreading infection considerably.
The device has an excellent appearance overall. It has a beautiful and durable chrome-plated brass construction. That will help with its lifespan, just in case you drop it now and then. As a power source, this device uses 2 standard C batteries, but rechargeable batteries work as well. It depends on what is more convenient to you. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
SPECv3 Fiber Optic LED Otoscope
The way I see it, this product belongs in another league. The clarity with which you can look into your patients’ ears in unbeatable. It uses a very bright white light with color rendition correction that will provide true tissue color. The fiber optics will allow you to inspect the ear canal using 360º illumination. The tympanic membrane has never been so easy to assess as it is with the SPECv3.
The quality if SPECv3 in not to be questioned. It is FDA approved and lets you spot infections as if they were exposed. It is professional grade and lightweight. You can even use it at home. The brass metal body and polymer head are of the highest standards and ensure durability. It contains no cheap plastic.
As far as vision is concerned, the SPECv3 comes with a precise and compact magnification of 3x. The lens is detachable, and it has a built-in insufflation valve for easy cleaning. It is ideal for ear wax removing, as well as foreign objects that need to be removed before things get bad. The SPECv3 uses 2 AA batteries, but you can also use rechargeable batteries. The manufacturer recommends that you use high-power alkaline batteries for maximum output.
Overall, SPECv3 is very easy to use, it’s practical and has a highly efficient light output. What you will like best about this product is that it can provide a 30% larger field of view than conventional pneumatic otoscopes. That can make the difference between catching a slight infection before it gets worse and ending up in the emergency room with a full-blown ear infection. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I think it’s pretty obvious which one of the three products I prefer. I have an affinity for high-tech products, but only because I believe that the better the technology, the better the product. That is why I consider that the SPECv3 Fiber Optic LED is one of the best otoscopes available for domestic purchase.
You can’t really appreciate a particular product until you suffer the lack of it first hand. I don’t know if you have ever had an ear infection, but they are as bad as they get. It hurts, depending on the intensity it can cause fever, and let’s not forget about the balance issues. And you know what? Most of them can be caught in time, before getting ugly. All you need is to have your doctor check your ears with a high-quality otoscope. Click here to buy on Amazon
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