||The first aural specula were devised to help extract foreign bodies from the ear canal, and not to examine the tympanic membrane.
Guy de Chauliac, the famous 14th century surgeon, stated in his Collectorium artis chirurgicalis medicinae, published in 1363, that 'to diagnose different foreign bodies in the ear canal, it was best to inspect the ear, illuminated by sunlight, with the outer ear canal widened by means of a speculum'.
Fabricius Hildanus (1560‑1634), city surgeon at Berne (then in Germany), is generally credited with devising the first aural speculum, and modified versions of this same speculum are in use to the present day.
He was the first German surgeon to emphasize the need for an accurate knowledge of anatomy.
Hildanus also described the neural interconnection between the external ear canal and the larynx which is responsible for the cough reflex occasionally encountered when mechanically cleaning the external ear canal.