How to Use a Digital Ear Thermometer

closeup of an ear thermometer in someone's ear
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 35
What You'll Need
Digital thermometer
Cotton balls
What You'll Need
Digital thermometer
Cotton balls

A digital ear thermometer is probably one of the fastest ways to get the temperature of a person. It provides an accurate reading and only takes a few seconds to get the results.

The temperature is taken by measuring the heat being released in the inner ear. The heat that is emitted from the ear is then measured by the infrared detector on the digital ear thermometer.

Using a digital ear thermometer is quite easy. There is no need to check your watch every now and then and worry that the thermometer is not placed right.

1. Clean Ears, Clean Reading

Before taking the temperature of a person using a digital ear thermometer it is important you make sure the ear is clean. Dirt or ear wax buildup inside the ear can cause an inaccurate reading.

Also, make sure the person has not been doing any strenuous activity since this can cause the temperature of the body to increase resulting in an inaccurate reading.

2. Sanitize the Digital Ear Thermometer

Prior to using the digital ear thermometer, it is important that you sanitize all the tools you will be using. This is to avoid any cross-contamination from the thermometer to the patient. To do this, just wet the cotton ball with alcohol then wipe the tip of the digital ear thermometer.

3. Correct Ear Position

Although the digital ear thermometer is an easy instrument to use, there is a correct way to position the ear to make sure you are pointing the tip on the correct area of the ear. Pointing the tip incorrectly will result in an inaccurate reading.

Since it is the temperature in the inner ear the infrared red in the thermometer is reading, it is important that you get the appropriate alignment of the inner ear and the thermometer. To do this, simply lightly pull the upper earlobe and then pull it back. You will notice this lengthens and opens up the inner ear.

4. Insert the Digital Ear Thermometer

Turn on the digital ear thermometer to activate the infrared. Carefully insert the probe of the digital ear thermometer to the inner ear. Do not force the digital ear thermometer since this can cause damage to the ear. However, make sure the digital ear thermometer fits snugly in the ear without forcing the instrument in.

5. Read the Digital Ear Thermometer

Once you have set the probe of the digital ear thermometer in, wait a few seconds until you hear a beep. The beep is a warning to let you know the tool is done reading the temperature.

Carefully, remove the probe from the inner ear and look at the reading on the body of the digital ear thermometer. Check to see if you have successfully read the body temperature. If you see the code “ERR,” it means an error has been made or you were not able to get good contact with the inner ear. If this happens, just repeat the process until you get a reading.