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Credits: National Railway Museum

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Monaural means one ear. This monaural stethoscope listened to the sounds of a foetus in the womb. The physician’s ear is placed at the large disc. The other end is placed on the pregnant woman’s abdomen. The wooden tube is hollow so sounds heard in the ball end travel to the user. The monaural stethoscope was slowly replaced in general practise in the late 1800s by the binaural stethoscope. It continued to be used for maternity care.

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Glossary: monaural stethoscope

An instrument used to listen to sounds produced by the human body.

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.