Stethoscopes are a common tool among all kinds of doctors, and they’re pretty simple ones at that. The stethoscope itself has existed for decades, and it hasn’t changed much either. Today, let’s take a closer look at stethoscopes, how they work, and what we can use them for:

The Anatomy of a Stethoscope

The stethoscope is comprised of four main parts. The earpieces, made of a durable, yet soft plastic or rubber, are attached directly to the device’s headpiece and tubing. The headpiece’s tubes are made of a light metal, like aluminum to allow sound to travel through them with little interference. Both eartubes are angled in such a way that the earpieces will rest snugly in the ears.


The rest of the stethoscope’s tubing is made of a hollow, durable plastic that is resistant to both alcohol and skin oils. It is attatched to the chestpiece, or bell, of the stethoscope, which is made of similar material to the ear tubes. Some stethoscopes may come with double-sided bells, which allow doctors to switch between a large bell for bigger patients, and a small bell for smaller patients, or easier movement under bandages. Some stethoscopes also contain a diaphragm, which allows for high-frequency sounds to be heard as well.

How Stethoscopes Work

The bell of the stethoscope is designed to amplify the quiet sounds of our bodies. Through a cylindrical design, the device amplifies soundwaves, then directs them through small tubes directly into the ears, as close to the ear canals as possible. The combination of the sound’s isolated, direct path and the cylindrical tubing help doctors hear sounds like breathing or heartbeats much easier.

What are Electronic Stethoscopes?

Electronic stethoscopes are one step above the standard stethoscope most doctors use. These devices contain an electronic sound sensor and amplifier, which then amplifies sounds with incredibly low frequencies or incredibly high frequencies to make them easier to hear.

Stethoscope Uses

Aside from listening to a patient’s heartbeat, doctors have many other uses for stethoscopes. Stethoscopes can help doctors find discrepancies in heartbeat and blood flow, which can then lead to further investigation from a cardiologist. When listening to the lungs, stethoscopes can allow doctors to find places of friction, potential signs of tuberculosis, or even asthma. Finally, doctors can use stethoscopes to listen to intestinal movement as well, and look for intestinal damage, blockages, and irregular movement within the bowels.


Just about anyone can purchase a stethoscope of their own. To view the best stethoscopes and other diagnostic devices available, visit the Medical Supply Depot.

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