A traditional stethoscope is made up of three parts: the head, the chest piece and the tubing. Some stethoscopes with a particular configuration don’t include all three of these parts. This is the case, for example, for Pinard horns that have no chest piece or tubing.
- The chestpiece: this is the part in contact with the patient’s skin. It is what that picks up the sounds. The chestpiece itself consists of three elements:
- The diaphragm: the flat part of the head that allows you to hear mid to high frequency sounds.
- The bell: the most rounded part of the head that allows you to hear low frequency sounds. Stethoscopes composed of a diaphragm and a bell are called “dual head.” Simply flip the head over to listen alternately to low and high frequency sounds.
- The base: the part that links the head and the tubing.
- The tubing is the tube that connects the head and chest piece. This is the part that carries the sound. Some models have double tubing, which allows sounds to travel better and reach the practitioner’s ear canal more clearly.
- The headset: this is the metal part of the stethoscope on which the tubing is fitted. It is made up of three elements:
- The tension spring: it can be adjusted by moving the tubes apart or tightening them in order to adapt to the morphology of each individual.
- The two ear (or aural) tubes: their angle can be chosen according to the anatomy of the user.
- Two eartips: they can be of two types: flexible or rigid. Closely clipped on to the branches for safety reasons, they are generally difficult to remove. Some stethoscope models provide an additional set of soft ear tips and a pair of hard eartips.