Oral, Ear, and Infrared Thermometers

Before 2020, I bet most people rarely ever had their temperature taken and when they did it was most likely with a normal oral thermometer. Since covd-19, the use of thermometers have risen astronomically to the point they were even hard to locate for purchase at times last year. This blog will compare and contrast three types of thermometers meant to read body heat. These three types are the oral thermometer, the ear thermometer, and the newer infrared thermometer. The products linked in this article are from ILA. Each of these linked products have talking components to them making them essential for persons who are visually impaired that want to be able to take and know anyone’s temperature.

Oral Thermometers

A digital thermometer is used to take an oral temperature. It is a small hand-held device with a “window” showing your temperature in numbers. There are many kinds of digital thermometers. Most digital thermometers are easy to use and measure body temperature within seconds. Carefully read the instructions before using your digital thermometer.

The average oral temperature reading is 98.6°F (37°C). However, any oral temperature from 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C) is considered typical. Some people run naturally cool, and others slightly warmer. It is a good idea to know what your temperature typically is so you can assess whether you are running a fever when you feel sick.


  • Oral thermometers are most accurate in children over 3 and in adults.


  • Small children and people with breathing issues may not be able to keep their mouths closed long enough to acquire an accurate reading.

ILA offers this Talking Oral Thermometer for sale. It is a talking bi-lingual (English and Spanish) oral medical thermometer and it delivers spoken results in 8 seconds in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. Information in this section came from How to Take an Oral Temperature and Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Thermometers.

Ear Thermometers

Remote ear thermometers, also called tympanic thermometers, use an infrared ray to measure the temperature inside the ear canal. Tympanic readings are 0.5°F (0.3°C) to 1°F (0.6°C) higher than oral temperature readings.


  • Tympanic thermometers provide fast and accurate readings and may be preferable to oral or rectal thermometers, especially in children.
  • When positioned properly, infrared ear thermometers are quick and generally comfortable for children and adults.
  • Infrared ear thermometers are appropriate for infants older than age 6 months, older children and adults.


  • Due to the size of the ear canal, tympanic thermometers are not recommended for infants under 6 months old.
  • They must be positioned properly in order to get accurate results.
  • Obstructions like earwax may skew results.
  • They may not fit properly in a small or curved ear canal.

ILA is proud to offer this Talking Ear Thermometer for sale. It allows the user to easily take a body temperature without needing to put anything in the mouth. In just 5 seconds the temperature is ready and spoken aloud in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. Information in this section came from How to Take an Oral Temperature and Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Types of Thermometers.

Infrared Thermometers

If you prefer a non-invasive means to determine someone’s temperature the non-contact Infrared Thermometer (NCIT) is the way to go. NCITs may be used to reduce cross-contamination risk and minimize the risk of spreading disease. Before NCITs are used, it is important to understand the benefits, limitations, and proper use of these thermometers. Improper use of NCITs may lead to inaccurate measurements of temperature.

Benefits of NCITs

  • Non-contact approach may reduce the risk of spreading disease between people being evaluated
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean and disinfect
  • Measures temperature and displays a reading rapidly
  • Provides ability to retake a temperature quickly

Limitations of NCITs

  • How and where the NCIT is used may affect the measurement (for example, head covers, environment, positioning on forehead).
  • The close distance required to properly take a person’s temperature represents a risk of spreading disease between the person using the device and the person being evaluated.

ILA is proud to have this Talking Infrared Thermometer for sale. It speaks the readout in either English or Spanish and can be turned on or off with voice control. Information in this section came from the FDA article entitled Non-contact Infrared Thermometers.

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