Whilst updating our Firefly store items, we discovered some things that we simply just weren't aware of. You might have already done the research but if you haven't we hope you find this useful.
We like the Firefly range of otoscopes. There are better video otoscopes around but you have to pay quite a bit more to achieve any significant extra benefit. We also discovered that the most basic model in the range, the Firefly DE500 Digital Video Otoscope, has the best magnification and resolution values by quite some margin. You can compare the specs on our product page.
Most surprisingly was the latest WIFI video otoscope, the Firefly DE570 HD Wireless Mobile Video Otoscope. We simply never knew it even existed probably because, at the time of writing, it's not sold by anyone else in the UK. It's a built-for-purpose iPad, iPhone and Android video otoscope.
Wireless is nice but is it completely necessary and is the compromise on image quality worth it? Plus you have to remember to charge it! Therefore you should carefully consider if the Firefly DE550 Wireless Digital Video Otoscope is the right choice over the better performing and lower-priced, albeit wired Firefly DE500 Digital Video Otoscope.
If you're mobile and don't want to be carrying a laptop or macbook with you then the 'new' Firefly DE570 HD Wireless Mobile Video Otoscope is the probably the best option as you only require a mobile phone or a tablet. The HD image quality is excellent over WIFI and has been designed to operate with phone and tablet sized screens in mind.
When it comes to video otoscopes in general, there appears to be three main price levels. At the budget end, The Hearing Lab Store sells an extremely low-cost "USB microscope" that has a very sharp image which is up there with the Firefly products but we'll admit the build quality represents the price at only £82.50. They do however, come with a one-year warranty.
Next up are the Firefly digital video otoscopes priced between £300 and £400 which also only have a one-year warranty although should last much longer. They are also NOAH compatible which can make life somewhat easier. As mentioned previously you also have the options of wireless and mobile.
The next best option for us in practice especially as we are woven into the Aurical system is the Aurical Otocam 300 video otoscope from Natus. These are often listed at around £2,000. They are expensive and surprisingly not without their faults but the image quality is excellent with a very natural light allowing you to really investigate the outer ear with far greater surety.
The best advice we can give you about a video otoscope is simply to have one regardless of quality. Showing patients a live view is the best explainer tool you can have. The ability to show and clearly explain the condition of a patient's ear prior to and post whatever your doing will improve everyone's experience and help prevent many potential issues.
The image/video capture features of all these products allow you to keep objective documentation of the ear canal and tympanic membrane integrity which you may well be very grateful for in the future.