You’re a medical professional that uses a stethoscope every day, it’s a vital tool required by your job, but do you know the terminology of the working parts? This article will cover the high-level anatomy of the stethoscope.

Working from the top down, the first component of the stethoscope is the headset. The headset is comprised of two ear-tubes, tension springs and ear-tips. The headset is fitted to the rubber tubing of the stethoscope. Most stethoscope tubings now-a-days do not contain latex, this eliminates the possibility of a patient having an allergic reaction. All these pieces combined, make up the binaural of the stethoscope (tubing and headset).

The binaural of the stethoscope attaches to the stem of the chest piece. The chest piece is the part of the stethoscope that is placed on the patient where the user wants to hear sound. The traditional stethoscope is comprised of a bell and a diaphragm. The bell is used with moderate skin contact to hear lower frequency sounds. The diaphragm is used with firm skin contact to hear higher frequency sounds. 3M Littmann Stethoscopes come with tunable diaphragm technology, this allows the user to alternate between bell and diaphragm modes with a quick pressure change on the chest piece. Using light contact will pick up lower frequency sounds, pressing firmly will pick up higher frequency sounds. The tunable diaphragm on Littmann stethoscopes can easily be converted to a traditional bell (included with each stethoscope).

Now you know the anatomy of your stethoscope and will be better equipped to order stethoscope replacement parts in the future.