How to Use a Stethoscope

A stethoscope is a doctor’s signature tool. The most common use of a stethoscope is to listen to the heart, lungs, and bowel sounds.

The steps for using the actual stethoscope are rather easy but understanding the results you get from it can take much skill, study, and practice.

With that said let’s go ahead and run through the steps of correctly using the stethoscope.

Things you will need

  • Quality Stethoscope
  • Thorough understanding of the human anatomy
  • Patho – Physiology of the sound-producing organs.
  • A high degree of patience


  1. Ensure that the stethoscope has two separate earpiece tubes.
  2. Ensure that the stethoscope tube is thick, short, and relatively stiff with a small bore.
  3. Ensure that the tubing is free of leaks.
  4. Locate a quiet environment to work in.
  5. Insert the earpieces into your ears.
  6. Place the round part of the stethoscope on the person’s chest.
  7. Allow the sound to travel from through the tubing to your ears.


  • Use the stethoscope on bare skin as this will ensure that you do not pick up any secondary sounds such as rustling fabric.
  • Consider wiping the skin with warm water to avoid sound pollution from the skin’s hair.
  • Consider warming the stethoscope before use if the time is cold.
  • Use electronic stethoscopes to provide amplification.
  • Slightly tilt the earpieces forward for a better fit in your ear.
  • Ensure that while in storage the stethoscope tube isn’t kinked


  • Avoid tapping or talking into the round part of the stethoscope while it is in your ears as can cause serious damage to your ear drums.