App: OtoSim Companion
Cost: Free App ($4.99 to unlock)
Function: Enhances


Teaching ear examination in the clinical setting can be very challenging. The first problem is that it may be difficult to provide the learner with the opportunity to see all of the pathological entities that they might encounter in practice. The second problem is that most books present a complete picture of the tympanic membrane rather than the small segments that are often seen with the otoscope. There are stimulators that can be purchased to offer trainees a wide range of clinical content. However, the OtoSim Companion app for the iPad provides a cost effective alternative. By selecting an image and then having the learner examined the image through an ear speculum from approximately 10-15 cm away from the iPad screen, it is possible to simulate what they would actually see through an otoscope.

The OtoSim Companion app contains a series of images with descriptions that include both common presentations and conditions that occur rarely and as such are unlikely to be encountered by a trainee. The simulation allows learners to observe a much wider breadth of clinical material than they would be likely to see during their regular rotations.

The app itself is free, but the free version only contains a few sample chapters. The remaining chapters can be unlocked through an in-app purchase for $4.99.

Challenge Activity

In groups of two, one person open the OtoSim app and choose an image. The second person, using an ear spec, examine the image and determine what they are seeing.