Middle ear exploration

Middle ear infections are usually diagnosed using a health history, a physical exam, and an ear exam.

With a middle ear infection, the eardrum, when seen through a pneumatic otoscope, is red or yellow and bulging. In the case of fluid buildup without infection (otitis media with effusion), the eardrum can look like it's bulging or sucking in. In both cases, the eardrum doesn't move freely when the pneumatic otoscope pushes air into the ear.