One of the three primary symbols of the medical profession (after the white coat and the iconic staff of asclepius), the Stethoscope is a ubiquitous object in every medical clinic and hospital. Any and all healthcare professionals learn to use it during their training, but stethoscopes aren’t useful only for medical professionals. They can be incredibly useful in your home. Let’s find out what a stethoscope does and why this basic doctor’s equipment belongs in every home.
What is a stethoscope? What is it used for?
A stethoscope is an acoustic device that allows us to listen to sounds from inside the body. A small disc is connected to two tubes that end in earpieces. The disc contains a resonator that amplifies the sounds made by the heart and lungs, for example. Doctors also use a stethoscope to listen to the flow of blood in veins and arteries as well as sounds from the intestines. In combination with a Blood Pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer), a stethoscope is used to measure blood pressure.
How does a stethoscope work?
The resonator in the stethoscope catches different sound frequencies. Doctors are trained to understand the significance of these different frequencies. This allows them to make an interpretation about some of the vital organs in the body. In modern-day medicine, two types of stethoscopes are available to healthcare professionals:
Acoustic stethoscopes are commonly found in every physician’s office. This equipment consists of a diaphragm to catch high-frequency sounds and a bell to catch lower ones. With advancement in technology, acoustic stethoscopes now feature stratified continuous lumen and kinetic acoustics so that doctors can detect even the feeblest frequencies.
Electronic stethoscopes, also sometimes called stethophones, are gaining in popularity. These devices allow internal sounds from the body to be amplified and analyzed. The sound is first converted to electrical signals, which are then amplified and converted back to sound. This allows even feeble sounds to be precisely evaluated. Moreover, sounds can be recorded for repeat listening or documentation.
What are the benefits of keeping a stethoscope at home?
Almost everyone has a body temperature thermometer in their homes, and a stethoscope can be a useful addition to basic medical devices in the kitchen cabinet. If there’s a sick person in the home, it can be used to listen to a cough in the chest, sounds from the intestines, or measure blood pressure with some preliminary training. This can be easily achieved with online training modules or some quick lessons from a nurse, medical student, or physician. If a family member needs to have their blood pressure monitored regularly, along with the blood pressure cuff a stethoscope is necessary to accomplish this. Parents of young children will find it useful to gain some basic understanding of stethoscope use and keep this simple, but incredibly useful device in their homes.
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