What are the main parts of the Stethoscope and explain their functions?

Many nurses, medical students, or doctors looking for the main parts of the stethoscopes before buying the stethoscope, and also they want to know how their parts perform their functions.

You may have seen toy doctor sets and the stethoscopes being an essential part of the kit. It becomes a part of the doctor’s daily usage tool that sometimes you do not even feel it present. To understand the mechanism of a tool that you are using, it is necessary to know what parts of it do what.

Main Parts of Stethoscopes:

Having the whole information at your fingertips will also make it easier for you to make the right choice. Chestpiece, bell, diaphragm, stem, headset, ear tips, and ear tubes will be in use while a good stethoscope is in the making.


The main part of a stethoscope is its headset, which is responsible for transmitting the sound waves to the ears. It needs to be comfortable enough to be worn for long shifts and if the pressure is applied upon the ears is too much, it can be hurtful for the ears as well.

Medical field is a place where there is no chance of faults and distractions because the result can cost the patient’s life. So the tools that are selected and how they are made should be of the most comfortable materials and designs.

The headset consists of two parts:

  • Eartips
  • Ear tubes

Ear tips:

The very tips of the tool are usually made of hard silicone, which creates a vacuum inside the ears. This ensures that the sound which is not needed in the ear stays out of the canal.

The tips are made of such a material that will not damage the inner skin of your ear because practitioners wear them for a longer time.

The skin inside the ear is sensitive and using a low-quality scope can cause irritation and can distract the user from their work. Since hearing is an important sense in this field you cannot risk it with the thought of saving money. A little investment will not hurt anyone.

Ear tubes:

These tubes are the parts that are behind the ear tips and are made of metal. To hold the grip and shape of a stethoscope, metal supports sturdy functioning. The separation of different channels is the one universal design you will see in these products.

The difference in its universal design, the better sound quality could be heard and can lead to a perfect diagnosis by hearing the movements in the body.

There are 3 types of headsets that manufacturers produce, each destined to play the part assigned to them:

  • Single head
  • Double head
  • Triple head

Single headed:

Listen to vital signs of the patients through one flat circular surface that you often use for general purposes. Getting on the higher and lower spectrum of frequencies, this stethoscope covers a wide range of sound waves in its tubing.

Dual headed:

This type of tools serves you with two heads at each side of the chest piece and with different size. The smaller part resembles the cup shaped bell and typically used for lower sound frequency.

On the other hand, larger one is used for listening to higher frequencies better.

Triple head:

Triple headed stethoscope might be one of the most uncommon of all types that features three heads attached to its single chest piece. It becomes heavier for longer time usage and weighs more than regular stethoscopes.

Mostly used in critical cardiac monitoring, this type is owned by speacialists mostly.


The main part of the stethoscope is its chest piece which is of round/circle shaped. It consists of three more parts that are attached to it:

  • Diaphragm
  • Bell
  • Stem


The bigger round end of the chestpiece is known to be used for hearing the sound of the body and movements of organs inside.

Think of it as a telephone receiver, when you put the sound into the lower part while you speak, that area catches the sound waves and pushes it forward to other components of the telephone.

Similarly, a diaphragm acts the exact way when it catches the signals of bodily vibrations. As it is the larger circular shape, it is able to detect the larger frequencies in broad areas of the patient.

While placed on the skin. Working both on animals and human patients, the size may differ depending upon the size of patient as well.


This part of the instrument is the smaller circular or cup-shaped area usually present at the back of the diaphragm. Its smaller size determines the detection of trivial frequencies and is ideal for small body parts.

After its placement on this skin, one applies pressure to let it absorb the vibrations correctly. There is also a rim present on the edges of the bell or diaphragm which is non-chill.

It means that the sudden temperature change will not irritate the patient in his severe condition.


A part that connects the chest piece to the tubing is known to be called the stem. The importance of this part of the tool may not be as much as other parts and their functions are but it remains the stability of the product intact.

It functions better in two-sided chestpieces letting the user choose the side he wants to go with. By rotating the chest piece and clicking it back to its place, directing it to the tubes where the sound has to travel.


Picking ability of sound waves in a stethoscope very much depends on the type of tubing it is built with. Transferring the sounds to ear tubes is its main function and responsible for the type of quality a doctor or medic is hearing.

When a seller is talking about single or dual lamen design, he is talking about the tubing of the product. The way it works is that it is doubled or split halfway through it producing different sounds in each ear tube or ear tips.

The left and right path when separated though the spilt ensures a different sound type in each ear making it more precise for the diagnosis.

Another good quality they contain is that they are resistant to dust, oil or sweat or alcohol making it easy to clean. Long lasting and durable tubing makes the life span of a stethoscope.

How important it is to know about the parts of a stethoscope?

Medical field is advancing with time and new technology, designs and products are coming out every other day. The need to understand the components of the item you are going to purchase will not only help you direct to the right choice but will also increase your knowledge about your field.

As the basic information is what you are required to pick up at the doorstep, you may find it easy for further recommendations to your colleagues and friends.

Moreover, by knowing the kind of parts that are used in your tool giving you what you need, you do not put the safety and comfort of your patient at stake.