"Technology is advancing quickly, and in this case, we're very grateful!"

Earwax Removal: What’s The Difference Between Video Otoscope vs. Handheld Otoscope?

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Earwax, Patient Resources

Over the years, hundreds (if not thousands) of people have told us that they’re having issues with earwax.   

If you have experienced (or are currently experiencing) a buildup of earwax, then you’ll understand how frustrating this is and how it can severely impact your day-to-day life. 

If you’re dealing with an earwax impaction, chances are that you’ve noticed struggles in hearing correctly, as well as headaches, dizziness, and earaches. Don’t worry— we can remove the excess earwax in-house with our professional methods. 

As you know, there are many opinions on which method is best to remove earwax (many of which are stupid and dangerous), but the fact remains that the safest way to remove it is by seeing an audiologist. As good as cotton swabs can feel when you stick them in your ear, quite often you’re doing more harm than good, especially because you can’t see where the earwax is yourself. 

A key part of the earwax extraction process is looking into your ear to see exactly what is going on and understanding the steps required to remove the earwax causing the challenges. 

Handheld Otoscope 

There has traditionally been one way of doing this, and that’s through a handheld otoscope; this is the commonly-known device that your physician or audiologist will look into your ears through. 

It allows us to see the outer ear canal and eardrum through a magnified lens and a light, so that we can get a closer look at the earwax impaction that’s troubling you. 

Although the handheld otoscope does a great job, it does have two challenges: 

#1 It only allows the specialist using the otoscope to see what is happening, which means that you (the patient) don’t get to see and instead have to rely on the specialist to articulate what they’re seeing. 

#2 The small screen that we look through on a handheld otoscope is tiny; it’s like looking through a telescope – it can be difficult to see everything clearly and fully diagnose the next steps effectively. 

That’s why when video otoscopes were introduced, we were dancing on the rooftops! 

Video Otoscope 

A video otoscope utilizes a small camera that goes into your ear, which then shows what’s happening inside your ear canal on a screen in front of you (the patient) and us (the specialist). 

This means that we’re able to share what we’re seeing, explain and show you what may be causing the clogged-up feeling or identify where your buildup of earwax is. 

It also showcases it on a big screen so that we’re able to more clearly identify the steps required to remove your earwax, rather than the small screen on an otoscope. That way, we can get to work on your earwax extraction by seeing exactly what needs to be removed. 

There was also a scientific study conducted in 2018 that ran a comparison between a video otoscope and a handheld otoscope in adults living with HIV in South Africa. 

The study was conducted by two ENT specialists on 87 adults, and they found that middle ear pathology was observed in 8% of cases using the handheld otoscope versus 10.6% of cases using the video otoscope, concluding that “the video otoscope may be more accurate in the identification of middle ear pathologies.” 

Sometimes this advancement in technology pace is a good thing, hey! 

If you or a loved one is experiencing challenges with earwax and need a team of professionals in North Houston or Spring, then we’re here to help. 

Utilizing the latest equipment and video otoscopes, our team can identify the causes of your blocked ears and professionally remove your earwax. 

It’s simple, it’s pain-free, and like many of our patients, it will feel like a huge sense of relief as you realize all the sounds that you have been missing. 

Schedule an ear cleaning appointment with us today— earwax buildup is incredibly common, and we’re here to help you get back to hearing clearer, sooner. 

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Dr. Lacey Brooks, CCC-A, FAAA - Doctor of Audiology

Dr. Lacey Brooks received a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry in 2003, and earned her Doctorate of Audiology in 2009. She completed her clinical internships and residency at various facilities within Houston Medical Center. Dr. Brooks is a preferred provider for the American Institute of Balance (ABI), a professional member of the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA) and is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She is also the vice president of the Louisiana State University Houston Chapter Alumni Association. In addition to her years of experience identifying, diagnosing and treating all types and degrees of hearing loss, and vestibular disorders, Dr. Brooks has spent the last 13 years becoming an expert in Tinnitus management and therapy. Dr. Brooks is also one of the few providers in the country certified for Lyric Implantable Devices. For over seven years, Dr. Brooks successfully ran and operated more than six audiology clinics for one of the largest practices in the state of Texas before joining the North Houston Hearing Solutions team in 2016. Dr. Brooks prides herself on providing her patients with the highest quality of care. She loves her patients dearly and feels so fortunate that she gets to help improve their daily lives. This love, combined with her impressive skill set, business experience and passion for helping people hear has made Dr. Lacey Brooks a wonderful addition to the North Houston Hearing Solutions’ team. When not at the office, Dr. Brooks enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, family, and friends. Dr. Brooks is also very involved in her church and with mission work in her community and abroad.

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