Clinical Tip: An exam without tears is music to the ears

July 1, 2007

While examining the ears of a frightened toddler several years ago, I was able to calm him by singing a familiar tune. Since then, I never perform an ear examination on a young child (3 months to 3 years), without singing, humming, or whistling. Soft music close to the ear distracts the child long enough to get a good look at the ear drums. Child, parent, and examiner leave the room smiling.

Esther K. Chung, MD, MPH Philadelphia, Pa.