What is otoscopic testing?
- An otoscope is a medical device that transmits a narrow bright light which allows the technician to see if your employee has something in their ear canal that may alter the hearing test. Most of the time the culprit in this scenario is cerumen (ear wax), though the discovery of an infection or other medical problem may result from this test.
When is an otoscopic examination performed?
Our protocol at Onsite Medical Service is to perform an otoscope on any employee that has a *STS (or standard threshold shift) following their hearing test. You may request that all of your employees receive otoscope exams preceding the hearing test, but it is only routine for a technician to perform otoscopic testing on an employee with an unusual Audiogram.
Otoscopic Examination is completed to examine the external auditory canal / the middle ear through the ear drum. The otoscopic exam is performed by gently pulling the auricle upward and backward. This process will move the acoustic meatus in line with the canal.
Then our tech will:
- Inspect the external auditory canal.
- Evaluate tympanic membrane
Ear pathologies that can be identified include, but are not limited to:
- Auditory Canal Atresia: The narrowing of the external auditory meatus due to birth abnormalities, polyps, infections, allergies, etcetera.
- Impacted Cerumen: This occurs when excessive wax builds up in the ear canal, making it difficult to visualise the tympanic membrane.
- Otitis Externa: This is referred to as an infection of the outer ear canal due to bacteria, fungal, viruses etc.
- Tympanosclerosis: Scar tissue forming on the tympanic membrane that typically develops due to chronic middle ear infection.
- Perforated Tympanic membrane: A hole in the eardrum or ruptured eardrum.
Clearly identifying these pathologies will recognize valuable information before any further diagnostic tests can be performed.
If you have more questions regarding Otoscopic testing or what happens after an abnormal hearing test, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to address any concerns.
According to OSHA.gov, a STS (Standard Threshold Shift) is the following:
“What is a Standard Threshold Shift? A Standard Threshold Shift, or STS, is defined in the occupational noise exposure standard at 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(10)(i) as a change in hearing threshold, relative to the baseline audiogram for that employee, of an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz (Hz) in one or both ears.”