Before you buy your first stethoscope, it is important to learn about the different parts and features that modern stethoscopes have. Doing so will help you decide which model and type best fits your needs and budget.
What is Stethoscope
A stethoscope is an indispensable and frequently used tool for doctors, medical students, medical assistants, nurses and nursing assistants.
The stethoscope has two main uses: for auscultation and for listening to inner body sounds to assess the patients’ health conditions.
Parts Of Stethoscope
1 – Headset
The headset is the part of the stethoscope consisting of two “Eartubes” with “Eartips” on them and the tension springs. The angle of the Eartips must be matched up correctly with your ear canals.
Most stethoscopes are angled correctly, but if you feel a little discomfort or can tell that the angle is not quite correct, then you can lightly bend the ear tube to align it better. You can also adjust the tension of the headset by pulling apart the two ear tubes or pushing them in until they cross over each other.
2 – Eartip
The Eartips are the soft part that slides over the ends of the Eartubes. Eartips need to fit comfortably and snugly inside your ear canal to effectively block out as much outside sound as possible and to make sure that you are getting the clearest and best acoustics possible when listening to the sounds of the heart or lungs.
The Cardiology III Stethoscope by Littmann has exceptional eartips. They are called Snap-tight soft-sealing eartips and have a special surface treatment that keeps the dust and lint levels at a minimum, and increases the lubricity of the eartips when inserting them in the ear or taking them out. They are designed for comfort and quality acoustics. The snap-tight “Earpieces” are available in small and large and in numerous different colors.
3 – Eartube
The eartubes are the metal tubes that have eartips put on on one end, and are connected to the tubing at the other end. The purpose of the eartubes are to provide a stiff tube leading up to the ear.
4 – Bell / Diaphragm or Tunable Diaphragm
Traditionally, stethoscopes have a bell on one side of the chest piece, and a diaphragm on the other side. The bell is used to hear the lower frequencies of sound and the diaphragm is used to hear the higher frequencies.
Littman Stethoscopes come equipped with a tunable diaphragm, which allows you to hear both high and low frequencies. All you have to do is adjust the pressure on the chest piece for an instant switch between bell or diaphragm!
A common stethoscope consists of a bell and a diaphragm. The bell is used with light skin contact to hear low-frequency sounds and the diaphragm is used with firm skin contact to hear high-frequency sounds.
Littmann stethoscope’s patented tunable diaphragm technology alternates between bell and diaphragm modes with a simple pressure change on the chest-piece. Use light contact to hear low-frequency sounds. Press firmly for high-frequency sounds.
The small side of the Cardiology III Stethoscope can be converted to a traditional bell. The tunable diaphragm can easily be replaced with the non-chill bell sleeve that is included with each stethoscope.
5 – Stem
The stem is the metal tube part of the chestpiece where the tubing connects to it. On a tunable diaphragm, the ability to switch sides of the chestpiece is in the stem.
6 – Tubing
The tubing on a stethoscope is the soft tube that connects to the stem and the eartubes. Tubing is commonly made from PVC and is often 100% latex-free in order to protect those who have a latex allergy.
7 – Chestpiece
The chestpiece on a stethoscope is the part that rests on the part of the patient that you want to listen to. The chestpiece consists of the bell/diaphragm or tunable diaphragm, and the stem. Commonly on dual-sided chestpieces you’ll find a smaller chestpiece and a larger one. The smaller one is commonly used by paediatricians and on children, while the larger one is mostly used on adults.
In this blog post, we have discussed the different parts of a stethoscope. Now you know which part is important for your needs and how to buy a quality one according to those needs.
Have any questions about these tips? Let me know in the comment section below!