Guide on various types of Stethoscopes.

  • History of Stethoscopes:

This alloy of metal and rubber tubing is significantly more than the sum of its parts: One of the most popular diagnostic instruments for any medical professional is the stethoscope. However, when you learn how many possibilities are available, shopping for this seemingly basic item rapidly becomes confusing.

If we didn't discuss the history of the stethoscope at least a little bit, it wouldn't be fair. Doctors have undoubtedly been listening to patients' bodies for diagnosis since the beginning of healing, although the concept of the stethoscope did not develop until 1816. 

Rene Laennec, a French physician, needed to listen to a patient's chest, so he wrapped a long piece of paper into a tube—and discovered that he could hear considerably better using the device than by laying his ear directly against the patient's body. The term "stethoscope" was derived by Laennec from the Greek terms stethos (chest) and skopein (sound).

George P. Camman of New York devised a device with one earpiece for each ear twenty-five years after Laennec invented the stethoscope. For nearly a century, medical experts used this design with minor adjustments. 

Dr. David Littmann invented a new design that considerably improved the acoustical performance of the stethoscope in the early 1960s. 

A few years later, 3M purchased Dr. Littmann's stethoscope company, and the doctor continued to work on his ideas. Dr. Littmann's ideas eventually became the new stethoscope standard, and Littmann is today the most trusted brand name in the industry.

  • Various Parts of Stethoscopes: 

There are various types of stethoscopes, but they all have the same parts, we will cover different types of Stethoscopes later in this article, this section highlights the imperative parts of the equipment.

  • Ear Tips:

These tips are attached to the ends of a metal tube that curves and connects to the rubber tubing. The tips should fit comfortably in your ear and provide a good seal so that you can hear the sounds of the body when auscultating. The appropriate size and fit can be found by switching out the ear tips on some stethoscope types.

  • The Tube: 

The tube performs two crucial functions: it transmits noises from the body while also reducing or removing background noise that could obstruct diagnosis. A tube that can withstand significant bending should be manufactured of a thick, flexible material that is also crack-resistant.

  • Chest Piece: 

The chest portion (or head) of most stethoscopes is constructed of stainless steel, which is exceedingly robust and conducts sound well. Additionally, some chest components are constructed from an alloy of zinc or aluminum and stainless steel. The chest portion of a common dual head stethoscope will have a diaphragm on one side and a bell on the other.

  • Diaphragm: 

A thin, round piece of malleable material, frequently resin, called the diaphragm fits into one side of the metal stethoscope head. For the best effects, the diaphragm, which aids in sound amplification, should be well sealed, preferably with a non-chill rim.

Different types of Stethoscopes: 

There are three main types of Stethoscopes as follows:

  • Acoustic Stethoscopes: 

The way an acoustic stethoscope works is by directing more sound waves toward your ears than would otherwise do so. For us to hear a sound, sound waves must induce vibrations in air molecules. 

These vibrations then lead to changes in air pressure, which in turn cause our eardrums to vibrate. When you place a stethoscope on a patient, bodily sounds like the patient's heartbeat or stomach gurgling generate sound waves that strike the stethoscope's metal chest piece

The metal earpiece, then your ears, are where these sound waves finally arrive after traveling through the rubber tube in a specified direction. The sound is amplified because more sound waves enter your ears as a result of the tubing's containment of the waves than would otherwise. This is why using a Stethoscope to listen to a patient's heart sounds louder than placing your ear right near to their chest.

  • Electronic Stethoscopes: 

Acoustic stethoscopes are incredible, but they have a certain amount of sound amplification power. The physical vibrations of sound are converted into an electronic signal and optimized for better listening and diagnosis by electronic stethoscopes, also known as digital stethoscopes. In addition to just boosting volume, some electronic stethoscopes also can lessen ambient noise.

Certain digital stethoscopes may include extra functionality. Littmann Stethoscopes, for example, has an LCD that shows frequency selection, sound level, remaining battery life, and the patient's heart rate. 

The audio data is visualized by other models by connecting to the apps. The data from the stethoscopes may be transmitted to the apps via Bluetooth or a plug-in wire.

  • Stethoscopes for Hearing Impaired Medical Professionals: 

There are various choices accessible for medical professionals that have hearing impairments. The noises will be louder and easier to hear if you use an electronic stethoscope that has been amplified, as was mentioned in the section directly above. 

You can use this stethoscope normally if you don't wear hearing aids. If you use hearing aids, you may want to experiment with special adapters known as stethomate tips that let you use the stethoscope while wearing your hearing aids.

Another choice is to use a digital stethoscope that you can plug headphones into if using a regular stethoscope while using hearing aids is difficult for you. Your headphones should comfortably fit over your hearing aids as long as you select a big enough pair (consider over-ear and on-ear types). 

You may be able to buy a transmitter that can wirelessly send the sounds from the stethoscope to the hearing aids, depending on the brands of both your hearing aids and digital stethoscope.


If you want to know more about Littmann Stethoscopes or want to buy a new stethoscope then please feel free to visit we provide a variety of stethoscopes as well as various other medical equipment.