Introducing the First & Foremost ‘instrument’ in every doctor’s armamentarium…a Stethoscope! 🙂


[steth-uh-skohp]  Show IPA

noun Medicine/Medical .

an instrument used in auscultation to convey sounds in the chest or other parts of the body to the ear of the examiner.
1810–20; stetho- + -scope


I am not promoting any particular brand here. This is my current tool 🙂

A bit of obligatory introduction:

  • The 2 grey pieces are knows as ‘Earpiece’ – the end that we put in our ears.
  • The rounded part – Diaphragm. And the other side of it is known as the Bell -> both parts are used to listen to patient’s body parts, to hear & differentiate the types of sounds heard (Besides the chest to listen to heart and breathe sounds, we can use it for abdomen & vessels too, yup! Get an idea if your vessel may be narrowed & remember a stet is used to check Blood Pressure too?)
  • And the ‘tubing’ transmits the sound, so that it is heard louder than it is. Try listening to someone’s heartbeat with bare ears, and with a stethoscope. You will know what I mean.

* I personally believe everyone who uses a Stethoscope should have their own. Not a big fan of sharing, or using common stets for hygiene purposes – my only exception was in ICU settings. Each bed would have a stet to reduce cross contamination.


Okay, now that I am done with the necessary evil, lets move on.

My grouch is that:

  • Patients SPEAK During auscultation!

I used to think that it is common sense! Apparently I was mistaken.
When someone has something IN their ears…say headphones, don’t we all know that they would be a little hard of hearing? Anyone who has had to SCREAM at their teen/peers with headphones on, would get me.

When we wear our stethoscope and the earpieces are in our ears, our aim is to try to distinguish the sounds that we are listening to – be it your chest, or abdomen..or blood pressure measurement!
So, IF YOU Speak to us while the stethoscope is on you, there are 2 problems:
a) We can’t hear you clearly.
b) The auscultation becomes a futile attempt at that moment.

Not convinced? Try wearing a headphone and have someone you tell a story. Can’t get your hands on one? Just get 2 pieces of cotton and cover your ear canals.

One more thing…you do not have to automatically start breathing in & out the moment your doctor places his/her stets on you 🙂

I find it sooooo cute when patients’ do that!

Why not, you ask?
Because if your doctor is auscultating for your heart sounds, first he/she will try to pick up the rhythm. And if necessary, will proceed with asking you to inhale & exhale.
For lung auscultation, by all means…do your breathing exercises! 🙂


I’ve trained myself to Tell patients to not speak the minute I take my Stethoscope in hand 😉 When they still do, it irks me though.

Too complicated? Nahhh…Just STAY STILL & Follow the Instructions. And tell us your stories/complaints when we are all ears 😀

Simple, right?
Your co-operation will aid doctors in serving you better. Thank You Very Much.  🙂

This entry was posted in Interim : GatekeePer @ GP, Public Service Message and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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