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Portable monaural stethoscope, Europe, 1860-1890

Monaural stethoscopes consist of a single hollow tube. They are different to today’s familiar Y-shaped binaural stethoscope. It was used on the chest or another part of the body to listen to organs such as the heart or lungs. The round base of this stethoscope amplified sound up the tube to the ear piece. This example is made from metal with ivory ear and chest pieces. René Laennec (1781-1826) invented the stethoscope in 1816 as a diagnostic tool to listen to the heart and breathing in the human body.

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Glossary: stethoscope

A device which is used to listen to sounds produced by the human body. Ordinarily a stethoscope consists of rubber tubing in the shape of a Y.

Glossary: clinical diagnosis

A diagnosis given based on the signs and symptoms of a disease.