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Medical Tools

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Medical Tools

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Print Stethoscope Reading Comprehension

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.39

     challenging words:    acoustic, affordably, binaural, intestinal, Littmann, lub-dub, monaural, noninvasive, pneumonia, diagnose, tract, greatly, traditional, bronchitis, medical, indicate
     content words:    Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe Laennec, Arthur Leared

By Jennifer Kenny

1     Picture a doctor in your mind. Do you imagine a person with a white coat and a medical chart? What's around his or her neck? Most likely, the image produced in your mind showed a person with a stethoscope. That instrument is often considered the symbol of the doctor's profession.
2     Have stethoscopes always existed? Of course not. Before the stethoscope was invented, the doctor would place his ear next to the patient, desperately trying to hear. In 1816, Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe Laennec came up with the concept using a wooden tool. It was monaural, or used one ear to listen. Arthur Leared adjusted the stethoscope in 1851 to make it binaural; you've got it - it used both ears to listen. That's been the standard since. Over the years there were changes, of course. In the early 1960s, Dr. Littmann vastly improved the ability to hear the sounds with a combination of a two-sided chest piece. This is still the basis of ones used today.
3     There are four main parts of most stethoscopes. The bell is the cup-shaped part at the end of the tubing that is used to hear low pitch sounds. The diaphragm is the plastic disc at the end of the tubing that is used to hear high pitch sounds. These are considered the two sides of the chest piece. The tubing transmits the sound from the chest piece to the ear piece. The ear pieces, obviously, are the parts that fit into the ears.

Paragraphs 4 to 6:
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