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Hearing acuity is quickly assessed, comparing standardized perception with the examiner’s acuity. Conduction and sensorineural etiologies are defined. Common conditions as well as some unusual conditions (acute and chronic) that affect the external ear and the ear canal are described. In the evaluation of “dizziness,” clues are provided to help resolve the critical differences between vertigo and light-headedness along with clues to their respective etiologies.

Abnormalities of the tympanic membrane depicted include signs of inflammation, as well as pressure differentials between ambient air and air in the middle ear. The description includes perforation of the ear drum. A method is presented for determining if the auditory canal is patent, a maneuver that, incidentally, may result in resolution of aseptic otitis media.


  • Hearing acuity
  • Conduction vs. sensorineural disorders
  • External ear
  • Ear canal
  • Tympanic membrane
  • Auditory canal patency
  • “Dizziness” (vertigo)

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-63847-8_13
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Phillips, R.E. (2018). Ear. In: The Physical Exam. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-63846-1

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