Siegel’s pneumatic ear speculum

Item details

Object number M-113
Place London
Date 1930s
Category Otologic instruments
Material Rubber bulb and tube; glass lens; steel


Siegel’s pneumatic ear speculum was invented in the mid-1860s and used widely from the early 20th century onwards after it was popularised by Polizer in 1909 to perform pneumatic otoscopy as a routine examination procedure to test the mobility of the ear drum through the application of varying pressure levels at the external auditory canal. Immobility of the ear drum can be caused by fluid in the middle ear cavity (such as in otitis media with effusion), perforation or adhesive otitis media.  Siegel’s pneumatic speculum could also be used to force medications into the middle ear and to test for fistula of the lateral canal which would be indicated by a response of dizziness (a positive fistula test). This specimen is missing the earpiece which was designed to fit snuggly for a strong seal.