How to Wear a Stethoscope

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Stethoscope
Stethoscope (Image: www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Introduction: One major tool that physicians and other health care practitioners use is the stethoscope, a device used to listen internal body functions such as heart beat, breathing, and gastrointestinal processes. A stethoscope consists of ear plugs, a binaural piece (the steel part that holds the ear plugs in the ear), long flexible tubing, and the chest piece and diaphragm (drum-like part) at the end. Wearing a stethoscope correctly during use will insure the best sound input. When not in use, keep it accessible but out of the way.

Take the metal binaural piece with two hands and twist it slightly so the ear pieces point slightly forward--away from you--rather than backward or toward each other.

Insert the ear plugs into the ears so they're angled toward the nose and seated in the ear canals.

Use one hand to hold the chest piece and diaphragm where needed on the patient, such as on the chest, back, or abdomen.

If the stethoscope is going to be used again in the next few minutes, gently remove the ear plugs from the ears one at a time. Pull the binaural piece down so that it surrounds the neck. Walking with the stethoscope in this position can cause the long hanging chest piece to knock against the pelvis.

Once examinations with the stethoscope are complete, remove it from the head and hang it around the back of the neck so that the ear plugs and chest piece are dangling in front of the chest.

If the use of the stethoscope is infrequent, fold it up and place it in a large pocket to keep it out of the way.

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