The Evolution of The Stethoscope

by:Honde     2020-08-11

A stethoscope is one of the most important and basic diagnostic tools in medicine today. Despite its simplistic design, stethoscopes are very effective in helping medical professionals diagnose patients of all kinds of medical conditions. Stethoscopes like the Littmann Lightweight II S.E. Stethscope and the Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope have helped medical professionals all over the world do their jobs properly. In fact, these devices are the best symbol that the medical profession has. A person with medical device around his or her neck is often assumed by others to be a medical professional. If you are wish to know more about these fascinating devices, then here is a short history about it.

The Monoaural Stethoscope

Before any form of stethoscopes existed, doctors often had to press their ears to a patient's chest in order to listen to the bodily sounds. Unfortunately, this means a doctor needs to have super sensitive hearing in order to diagnose his patient. It was not until the early 1800s when a young doctor thought of a way to try to amplify the sounds emitted by the body in order to make things easier for him to hear it. Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec was a young doctor who was embarrassed to press his ear next to chest of a young woman to hear her heart. Instead, he rolled 24 sheets of paper in order to form a tube and the first rudimentary monoaural stethoscope was born. Once this idea took hold, more efficient and effective monoaural designs were developed and built using the best materials.

The Binaural Stethoscope

A few years after the monoaural unit became popular, more and more doctors have noticed that the design needs improvement. While it did effectively amplify the sounds of the body, using it was very awkward and uncomfortable. Doctors had to press their ears against the device to use it. This is why, during the middle part of the 1800s, the first binaural stethoscopes started appearing. Many doctors came up with their own designs. However it was around 1851 when Dr. Nathan B. Marsh of Cincinnati came up with the first commercially available unit.

Since the invention of the binaural unit, there are many major brands and manufacturers that improved on the design. This medical instrument evolved for a hundred years and this helped usher in the latest model of stethoscopes in the twentieth century.

The Littman Stethoscopes

During 1961, Dr. David Littmann described the 'ideal' stethoscope in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This ushered 'tunable' stethoscopes that are capable of listening to high pitched sounds as well as low pitched sounds. Dr Littman's work has helped greatly in the significant improvements in design that can be seen in its numerous products.

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