A stethoscope is one of the most commonly used medical devices. It is used to listen to the internal sounds of animals or human bodies. The French physician Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope.
He conceived this idea to prevent placing his head and ears on patients' bodies. The invention of the first usable binaural stethoscope dates back to 1855. Modern stethoscopes offer a high degree of precision. They help the health practitioners hear the sounds irrespective of noisy surroundings and multiple layers of clothes.
This process of hearing internal body sounds is called auscultation. The stethoscope comprises a resonator that is shaped like a small disk. This is placed against the skin. The resonator uses one or two tubes to connect to the earpieces.
The healthcare practitioner uses earpieces to hear the sounds of internal organs like the lungs, heart, and intestines. It is also effective to hear the sound of blood flowing through arteries and veins.
The working of a stethoscope:
Stethoscopes are not very complex. Their functioning involves vibrations due to sound waves. When placed against the skin, the sound waves from internal organs cause the diaphragm of the resonator to vibrate.
Hereafter, the sound waves move through the tubes on the inside walls. This way, the sound waves reach the ear tips that connect to the medical practitioner's ears. The narrow tube prevents the outward dissipation of vibrations, and the sound is amplified. The doctor or nurse can thus hear them more clearly. This phenomenon of the sound waves being funneled is termed multiple reflections.
Internal body sounds such as breathing and heart sounds have a high pitch. The diaphragm of the stethoscope auscultates these sounds perfectly. When the disc is placed against the skin, internal sounds directly cause it to vibrate.
The bell is also an important component of a stethoscope, but it works differently. Unlike the diaphragm, it isn't sensitive to vibrations that result from the opening and closing of valves in the heart.
The vibrations caused by skin movement are detected by the bell. Low-pitched sounds in human and animal bodies cause vibrations in the surrounding skin. The metal rim of the bell, when placed against the skin, catches these sounds that the diaphragm fails to pick up. The bell is thus used to detect some bowel sounds, bruits, and heart murmurs.
Some uses of the stethoscope
Doctors use the stethoscope to hear heartbeat sounds, sounds that indicate the movement of air through the lungs and respiratory pathways, and stomach sounds. It is one of the primary devices used for disease diagnosis. It is also used in conjunction with a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure. Some of the other uses of stethoscopes are below:
Hearing fetal sounds in the womb
Diagnosis of heart valve functions
Detecting abnormal heart sounds, also called heart murmurs,
To detect fluid in the lungs in the case of pneumonia
Diagnosis of bronchitis and pleurisy
To know if the intestinal tract is normal, underactive, or overactive.
Choosing and adjusting a stethoscope:
Choose a superior-quality stethoscope: The quality of your stethoscope can make all the difference in your diagnosis. This is because better quality stethoscopes will make it easier for you to listen to your internal body sounds. Here are some tips for choosing a high-quality stethoscope:
Single-tubed stethoscopes are a better choice as compared to double-tubed ones because there is no chance of tubes rubbing together. This makes it easier to hear heart sounds.
If you won't wear the stethoscope around your neck, opt for thick, short, and stiff tubes. If you wish to wear it around your neck, choose longer tubes.
Check for leaks in the tubing by wearing the earpieces and then tapping the diaphragm. If you do not hear anything, there may be a leak in the tubing.
There is a wide variety of stethoscopes available on the market, ranging from analog to digital and offering a multitude of features. You must choose one based on your requirements.
The Littman cardiology stethoscope has been widely recognized as one of the best tools for medical professionals. It is a digital stethoscope that helps modern healthcare professionals with their diagnoses. You can buy it here .
Adjusting the earpieces:
The output of your stethoscope will depend greatly on how you adjust it. While wearing it, make sure that the earpieces face forward and that they are comfortable yet snug in your ears. If the earpieces face backward, you won't be able to hear anything.
If a set of earpieces doesn't fit snugly enough to make a good seal, buy another set of earpieces. If the seal is not formed, your hearing will be encumbered by ambient noise. Some stethoscopes also allow tilting the earpieces for a better fit.
Checking the earpiece tension: You will have to readjust the earpieces if they feel too tight or too loose. They must neither be too close to your head nor too far from it. You will not be able to hear properly if they are too loose. Squeeze them near the earpieces to tighten them. Take care to not tighten them too much, as they will hurt your ears. Gently pulling the headset apart will reduce the tension.
Choosing the right chest piece: There is a wide range of chest pieces that vary based on their application. There are different chest piece sizes for adults and children. Choose one based on your needs.
A stethoscope is the most important device for professionals in the healthcare industry. Not all stethoscopes are created equal. It makes sense to do your research and buy the one that is best suited for your needs. The Littman cardiology stethoscope is a digital stethoscope that is a go-to choice for many modern medical professionals.
With impeccable output and durable construction, it offers a multitude of benefits that will make it easy for you to carry out the diagnosis. You can findLittman Cardiology stethoscopes
at Standris medical supply, inc. You also have the option of free engraving.