One of the most frequently used tools in general practice
The Otoscope is a marvellously designed and extremely simple to use instrument to examine the external auditory meatus (canal) of the ear, the eardrum and (partly) the middle ear.
Most otoscopes have a similar design: a light source shines its light through a disposable plastic cone inserted into the ear. The examiner can view the illuminated anatomy via a lens.
To get a good picture of the meatus and the the eardrum, the examiner pulls the ear up and back, as the canal is slightly kinked, and you want a straight passage to insert the rather rigid plastic cone.
When inside the meatus, the examiner looks for changes to the lining of the auditory canal, the state of the eardrum (perforation, change of colour, cystic protrusions) and the contents of the middle ear cavity.
Quick and painless, this is one of the most satisfying procedures in general practice and every GP guards his otoscope viciously.