||Ear disease has afflicted mankind since the days of prehistory.
The severe sequelae and deadly nature of certain ear disorders were well known and described in classical Greek, Latin and Arabic medicine, although adequate knowledge of the anatomy of the ear was not forthcoming until more than a millennium later.
Appropriate methods of ear examination are of even more recent origin. As with any deep‑seated structure, it is necessary to illuminate the area to be examined. The lack of appropriate technology for lighting the depths of the external ear canal delayed the development of instruments for the visual examination of the ear canal and tympanic membrane until the 19th century.
The history of otoscopy, the direct inspection of the external canal and tympanic membrane, mirrors the mechanical and technical developments of the 19th and early 20th centuries.