April 11, 2020

Digital Exam of the Ear, Nose, and Mouth at Home for TeleMedicine Virtual Visits



Performing a virtual telemedicine visit for an ENT problem is not the easiest given it almost always necessitates an examination of the ear canal, eardrum, nasal cavity, and/or back of the mouth. However, without additional tools a patient can not easily provide a good exam of these anatomic regions and obviously, the doctor is not able to provide a direct physical exam.

Thankfully, there are not unreasonably priced digital otoscopes that can be purchased in most online stores for about $40-$75 including Amazon which allow for pretty decent exams of the ear canal, eardrum, anterior nasal cavity, as well as the posterior mouth in the comfort of a home. The exact otoscope model used in the video can be found here.

Depending on the model, it can come with its own monitor or a cable that can connect to a smartphone or computer.

Once turned on, the camera itself provides its own lightsource. When first using, make sure the camera is oriented so that you know which way is up. Digital otoscopes have a fixed focal length of about 2-3 cm so if the camera is positioned too far away, the video image will go out-of-focus. The diameter of the camera itself is about 3.9mm with a viewing angle of 70 degrees and a depth of field of 20-30mm.

While using the digital otoscope, all movements should be done SLOWLY and GENTLY. Movement of the camera within the ear and nose should be done in millimeter increments to minimize discomfort and at worst accidental damage.

During a telemedicine visit, a digital otoscope can provide essential information on the overall health of the ears, nose, and mouth in the comfort of your home and provide guidance on appropriate interventions.

Needless to say, digital otoscopes allow for both video and picture recordings to be taken.

Watch the video!

Also, learn how to use a tuning fork to diagnose different types of hearing losses as well as clogged ear reasons here.


Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. He is also the chief medical officer of O2Labz, a medical and scientific 3D animation company.

Banner Map

Causes of Globus