Otology is the study of the pathology and anatomy of the ear. The anatomy of the ear, nose and throat system was first identified by the physicians of classical Greece and Rome. Instruments to alleviate morbidities of this region have evolved considerably over the millennia.
Modern otologic surgery relies on a specialised instrumentation cadre, developed by English and German anatomists during the nineteenth century. Their prototypes are still utilised for the production of instruments for otology procedures, today. This device for looking into the ear is also known, particularly in America, as the otoscope. An earlier device for looking into the ear was invented by Anton von Troeltsch in the early 1860s. This was a perforated concave mirror that reflected light into the ear canal and enabled the observer to look through the hole and observe the ear canal. It is familiar to most people as the doctor’s head mirror. Variations on this theme attached the mirror to a tube that went into the ear canal. The first true and portable auriscope was that devised by John Brunton (1835 – 1899). It has a tube with an internal perforated mirror that reflects light from a trumpet on the side. With the availability of dry cell electric batteries after 1892, auriscopes using electric bulbs became available. Electric auriscopes are produced by a number of different manufacturers but they still have the general format of the Brunton instrument.