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Stethoscope Acoustics and the Physician: Concepts and Problems

An acoustical test system was specifically designed to evaluate stethoscopes under conditions which are applicable to the clinical situation in which they are used. This entailed the incorporation of acoustical analogues for human ears and the human chestwall into the test apparatus. The response curves of many differing stethoscopes fell into only four basic patterns and these correlated with critical features of stethoscope design. The magnitude of stethoscope performance discrepancies was found to be considerable.

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