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How to Take Your Temperature by Ear

Ear thermometers are easy to use—and with their infrared technology provide an almost instant reading. Which means they're great for most anyone, but especially kids who don't like to sit still.


  • Step 1: Read thermometer's instructions Read the thermometer's instructions and note any special characteristics.
  • Step 2: Check ear for wax Look in the ear that you're planning to check—if there is too much wax in it, it won't be able to get a good reading, and you'll need to try the other ear or use an oral thermometer instead.
  • TIP: If you suspect a fever is caused by an ear infection, do not attempt to use an ear thermometer.
  • Step 3: Wipe tip of probe Wipe the tip of the probe with a clean cloth or paper towel, and slip on a disposable probe cover.
  • Step 4: Pull ear up and back Pull the ear up and back to help position the probe.
  • TIP: For babies under 12 months, pull the earlobe down and back to help position the probe.
  • Step 5: Insert thermometer Insert the thermometer, gently wiggling it into the ear canal. Be careful not to force it or push it in too far.
  • TIP: Most ear thermometers can be used in the armpit, but it's usually harder to get an accurate reading.
  • Step 6: Turn thermometer on Press the button to turn the thermometer on.
  • Step 7: Remove thermometer Remove the thermometer when you hear the beep, which should be within a few seconds.
  • Step 8: Read thermometer Read the thermometer. The average normal ear temperature is 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit—if the reading is less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit or more than 103, seek medical assistance.
  • Step 9: Throw away probe cover Remove the probe cover and throw it away.
  • FACT: The hypothalamus, a tiny cone-shaped structure at the base of the brain, is responsible for regulating the body's temperature.

You Will Need

  • An ear thermometer
  • A clean cloth or paper towel
  • Disposable probe covers

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