Temperature-taking has come a long way

Many parents will remember as children having their temperature taken with a strip thermometer or perhaps an old-fashioned glass thermometer.

The strip thermometers have since been discredited as inaccurate as they only show the temperature of the skin, rather than the body, while glass thermometers posed serious risks when broken, from small splinters of glass to exposure to highly poisonous mercury.

Today, thanks to developments and innovation in digital thermometer technology, the way we take temperature readings at home has been completely transformed.

Why use the ear?

The ear is an excellent site to measure temperature because the ear reflects the body’s core temperature. In fact, body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus*, which shares the same blood supply as the tympanic membrane**. Changes in core body temperature are usually detected sooner in the tympanic membrane than in other sites, such as the rectum, mouth or under the arm.

Clinically-proven accuracy

Braun is the No.1 brand of thermometers used among doctors**. In a recent study***, the Braun ThermoScan® 7 Ear thermometer was used to measure temperature in 894 patients in several outpatient medical facilities. It found that, when used in newborns; Braun ThermoScan® 7 offers the same accuracy as the study’s comparative rectal measurement readings. It also concluded that ear measurement removes the added discomfort of rectal measurement.

There are other benefits too

  • As the ear reflects the core body temperature, temperature change is often reflected faster in the ear than other body sites, especially at times of rapidly changing temperature. This was verified in a study with infants and toddlers*****.
  • Under the arm (or axillary) temperature measurements reflect skin temperature which may not reliably indicate the internal body temperature.
  • Oral temperatures are often influenced by eating, drinking, thermometer placement, breathing through the mouth, or the inability of the person to close their mouth completely.
  • Rectal temperatures often lag significantly behind internal body temperature changes. Also, there is a risk of cross-contamination and risk of damaging the rectum.
  • It is more hygienic, thanks to no contact with any mucus membrane, and therefore poses less risk of cross-contamination (when used with Hygiene caps probe covers).
  • With babies, there is no need to wake up and undress them for temperature measurement.
  • Also, there is more comfort and less stress both for baby and parents, especially in frequent measurement situations to monitor fever evolution.

Can ear measurement work for you?

In summary, thermometer measurements via the ear is a very accurate and reliable way of determining temperature. If you are looking for a quick reading, then check out the Braun ThermoScan® range.

*GUYTON A C, TEXTBOOK OF MEDICAL PHYSIOLOGY, W.B. SAUNDERS, PHILADELPHIA, 2016, P 754-5
**Source: Ipsos, online study among n=802 GPs and Pediatricians in four European markets (n=200 each in GE, UK, FR, NL), fielded in Jan-Feb 2017.
***NETTER H F, ATLAS OF HUMAN ANATOMY, NOVARTIS MEDICAL EDUCATION, EAST HANOVER, NJ, 1997, PP 63, 95.
****Liu A. A Study to Validate the Age-based Fever Cutoff Points for the AgeSmart Feature Using the Braun IRT 6520 Thermometer. Helen of Troy proprietary clinical investigation report ref. CP-THR11-01. 2016.
*****Loveys, A A / Dutko-Fioravanti, I / Eberly, S W / Powell, K R.Comparison of ear to rectal temperature measurements in infants and toddlers Clinical Pediatrics, Volume: 38 Issue: 8, page(s): 463-466. 1999.