How many audiologists does it take to change the bulb of a full-size otoscope? The answer is one experienced audiologist. If you never had to change out a bulb, you may believe that it takes a village of audiologists just to find the precise location of the bulb since it is positioned in such a way that only the very bottom of it is visible. If you don’t know what to look for, trying to change out the bulb of your full-size otoscope will be a frustrating experience.
Unlike pocket otoscopes, all full-size otoscopes with detachable heads and handles utilize fiber optic illumination technology whereby the light from the bulb is transmitted via small fiber optic bundles. As such, the bulb will reside at the bottom of the otoscope head. Regardless of whether the otoscope head is a diagnostic, pneumatic, operating, or MacroView model, first detach the otoscope head from the handle and then turn the otoscope head over to inspect the bottom of the head. As seen in the image to the left, the bulb resides in the center of the otoscope head’s base. The bottom of the bulb is cylindrical in shape and typically has a metal dot in the center. Using your thumb and index finger, firmly grasp or pinch the bottom of the bulb’s base and then pull hard to remove the bulb. Keep in mind that it may take several attempts to get a good enough grip to successfully pull the bulb out since most of the bulb, as shown in the image on the right, resides deeply in the bottom base of the otoscope head. Once the bulb is removed, the bottom of the otoscope head will reveal an empty cylindrical cavity. So, if your otoscope doesn’t seem to work, after ruling out potential battery issues, the next step would involve replacing the actual bulb. For more general information, check out the free-to-view Otoscope webinar via the Oaktree Products’ microsite at AudiologyOnline as well as previous posts about otoscopes via the Otoscope, Headlamps & Earlights section of my blog.