How to perform an otoscopic examination

This post is going to describe how to perform an otoscopic examination of a patient, from start to finish. I’ll direct it from an audiologist’s point of view, but I am still an audiology student, and hence haven’t acquired a heap of experience yet. This is what is involved.

First up, you need to describe to the patient what you’re going to do. You don’t need to say anything in too much detail, it could just be ‘I’m just going to take a quick look in your ears, so just hold still for me’. For younger kids you can say ‘I’m going to see if I can see the inside of your ear!’ And for really young kids, you might want to get them sitting on the parents lap so just instruct the parents on how to hold them. For wriggly kids, get them sitting across the lap, get the parent to anchor the child’s head to their chest, and restrain the arms with their other hand, just so the child won’t be moving about whilst you’re inside their ear. Continue reading


Anatomy of the inner ear

As I mentioned during my post on the anatomy of the outer and middle ears, I would be following up with a post on the anatomy of the inner ear. So today I will just try to give a bit of a summary on how the cochlea converts the vibrations of sound, to a message that can be interpreted by the brain.

The cochlea is like a long tube folded in half, and then coiled up with the folded end being the apex of the coil. This tube is filled with a fluid called perilymph. Continue reading

Anatomy of the external and middle ear

Recently I began studying my current university degree which is a Masters in Clinical Audiology. To be honest, I hadn’t really known much about the ear before I began, but since starting, I have learnt so much and thought about so many things that I hadn’t even considered before. How can we tell where sounds come from? What is a ‘sound’? How does the brain use the information a sound brings? I’ll probably end up writing more about the ear and concepts related to audiology more than anything else from now on so I apologise in advance if this is not of interest to any of our current readers. This post will be a bit of an introductory one to the anatomy of the ear. Hopefully, what I write makes sense even if you don’t have any background knowledge!

Continue reading

Helicobacter pylori

Today’s post is about a type of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).  It can be ingested in childhood and reside in the stomach. In industrialised countries, about 20-50% of people will have this bacteria, and some of these people (not all) will get stomach inflammation and or peptic ulcers because of it. How is this bacteria able to survive in the stomach, and why do only some people develop further health conditions because of it? Continue reading

Tay-Sachs Disease

Tay-Sachs disease is a genetic disease that causes progressive deterioration of nerve cells, mental and physical abilities. It is an autosomal recessive genetic disease which means that an affected child would need to have inherited a mutated gene from both parents. The mutation is in the α-subunit locus on chromosome 15 which results in a deficiency of the enzyme hexosaminidase A. This enzyme is required to catabolize GM2 gangliosides. If a substance is not properly broken down, Continue reading

Blood, haemostasis and thrombosis

Blood is one of those under-appreciated things. It continuously circulates the body delivering oxygen and nutrients to where they need to be, and removing things that shouldn’t be there. The heart pumps it around and has been doing so without fail, since you were about minus 34 weeks old (ie. a very young fetus). Haemostasis is the balanced interaction of blood cells, blood vessels and plasma proteins. This post will look at how the body reacts in response to injury to the endothelium of a blood vessel and what are some potential consequences of this.

Continue reading