Whether you are a medical student or just curious about this useful device, you are here because you are wondering what are the parts of a stethoscope. This contraption is not as complicated to build and understand as compared to many other medical instruments.
However, it still has some exciting parts that have to work correctly in combination with one another for it to remain functional.
Read on, and learn about the essential parts of a stethoscope and how they fit together to help the physicians and veterinarians all over the world diagnose their patients.
What Are the Parts of a Stethoscope?
In this next section, we will talk about each of the parts individually, and explain their specific function. Not all of them are equally important, as you will notice, but without the component with the least important role like the stem, the stethoscope just wouldn’t work.
The chest piece is the central part of any brand and type of stethoscope. It features three main components namely the stem, the diaphragm, and the bell.
The function of the chest piece is the most important one in the whole device. By using the diaphragm and the bell, it enables you to hear the quiet sounds inside of the patient’s body.
The stem is a part without any complicated functions. Its only purpose is to connect the chest piece to the tubes and provide stability to the whole mechanism. It also supports the chest piece. It is usually made out of steel for better stability, but you can find different models that are made of hardened plastic or aluminum.
Bell and Diaphragm
The bell and the diaphragm are what allow stethoscopes to work. The diaphragm is a big, round end of the chest piece, and the bell looks exactly the same, just being a little smaller.
The main difference between these two is what kinds of frequencies are they better attuned to detect. The larger circular fragment is used for higher frequencies and broader body areas, while the bell is perfect for low frequencies that the diaphragm wouldn’t be able to detect and hear.
The headset is what the upper pieces of the stethoscope are called. It consists the ear tips and ear tubes. Most physicians and vets say that it is very important that the headset is comfortable since they spend most of their working day wearing it.
Ear tips are usually made out of silicone, and they are designed in a way that they create a vacuum inside of the ears and ensure any outside sounds don’t interfere while you are listening to the patient’s breathing and heartbeat. One thing to note if you’re planning on buying a stethoscope is that it’s essential that ear tips are comfortable. Using a low-quality model can irritate your ears and cause you some issues.
The ear tips we previously talked about are located at the ends of the ear tubes. The ear tubes are made out of metal, and the sound is being transported to them through the tubing from the chest piece.
Additionally, ear tubes have a sophisticated design that allows them to separate sound into different channels. Depending on the quality of the ear tube, the user will be able to hear better sounds and understand what is currently happening inside of a patient’s body.
If you had ever seen a stethoscope, then you must have noticed the flexible tube it has that connects the headset and the chest piece. This part is commonly known as “the tubing”, and it has a vital purpose of transporting sound from the bell and diaphragm to the ear tubes.
There are two types of tubes, which are the single tube and the dual lumen tube. The latter is found on newer models and more expensive ones, and it generally provides a higher quality type of sound.
In the modern day, most doctors, nurses, and other professionals use the dual lumen stethoscopes since they separate the sounds going into the left and the right ear of the user, and help them diagnose and hear things more accurately.
Hopefully, we have explained to you exactly what are the parts of a stethoscope. As you could see, it is not a highly complicated device, but it is a very delicate one.
The most important component would be the chest piece, more precisely, the bell and the diaphragm because they are used to detect low- and high-frequency sounds inside the human body.
Supported by the stem, the sound is then transported into the ear tubes through the tubing. The ear tips are located at the end of these tubes, and users are able to hear the sounds inside of a patient by putting them on, similar to headphones.