Utilisation of a smartphone-enabled video otoscope to train novices in otological examination and procedural skills

J Laryngol Otol. 2022 Apr;136(4):314-320. doi: 10.1017/S0022215121004102. Epub 2021 Dec 13.


Objective: The ai/m of this study was to compare the self-reported confidence of novices in using a smartphone-enabled video otoscope, a microscope and loupes for ear examination and external ear canal procedures.

Method: Medical students (n = 29) undertook a pre-study questionnaire to ascertain their knowledge of techniques for otoscopy and aural microsuction. Participants underwent teaching on ear anatomy, examination and procedural techniques using a microscope, loupes and smartphone-enabled video otoscopes. Confidence and preference using each modality was rated using a Likert-like questionnaire.

Results: After teaching, all modalities demonstrated a significant increase in confidence in ear examination (p < 0.0001). Confidence in using the smartphone-enabled otoscope post-teaching was highest (p = 0.015). Overall, the smartphone-enabled video otoscope was the preferred method in all other parameters assessed including learning anatomy or pathology (51.72 per cent) and learning microsuction (65.51 per cent).

Conclusion: Smartphone-enabled video otoscopes provide an alternative approach to ear examination and aural microsuction that can be undertaken outside of a traditional clinical setting and can be used by novices.

Keywords: Medical Education; Otoscopy; Telemedicine.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Otoscopes*
  • Otoscopy / methods
  • Self Report
  • Smartphone
  • Students, Medical*