Healthy hearing is an important factor in learning and living, and the otoscope is tool used in the provision of hearing healthcare.
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Why the otoscope?
The very first step in all hearing evaluations is an examination of the outer ear with an otoscope. This assessment can give healthcare professionals essential information on the status of the ear canal, ear drum, and any surrounding structures. The otoscope can provide information on whether an infection is present or even if an ear drum perforation exists; it can also provide some information on the type of hearing loss, and can help lead to more accurate diagnoses. Research shows that children with even a mild hearing loss perform significantly worse than normal hearing children at school. Furthermore, research has also shown a correlation between hearing loss and dementia.
Industry gold-standard otoscopes can cost upwards of $1000. This lens, light, and battery combination will surely make a dent in the bank accounts of any local hearing clinic, and definitely break the bank of an average graduate student.
Alternatives to these premium otoscopes exist, but the reported qualities of these “bargain-price” devices are low, and these devices tend to be small in size and hard to use.
At the time of developing the Glia otoscope, open-source and 3D-printed otoscopes also fell victim to lower grade performance and higher difficulty of use. The Glia otoscope attempts to fill the gap as a high quality, premium device, at a fraction of the cost.
The Glia otoscope is well on it’s way to being a piece of equipment that all audiologist can rely on for a fraction of the cost.
This device functions as an excellent otoscope to examine the outer ear. It fits comfortably in an examiner’s hand, and provides a clear view of the ear’s structures. More development of the device is required in order to utilize the otoscope for throat examinations. To reduce cost, 3D printers are used to create several parts, including the otoscope head, body, and battery compartment.