We love to delve into the history of acoustics, talk about amazing finds like the ” flute of forgotten dreams “, study materials on 3D sound technologies and consider new gadgets like headphones that “filter” the sounds of the surrounding world. Today we decided to talk about how sound can detect what cannot be seen. We are talking about an invention, thanks to which medicine began to study sounds in order to identify diseases.
“It seems to me that the ‘culture of listening’ first showed itself in Paris after the appearance of the stethoscope in the early 19th century,” says Trevor Pinch , a sociologist at Cornell University.
The stethoscope was invented in 1816 by Rene Laennecq, a French physician and founder of scientific diagnostics. He found that the folded sheets of paper made it possible to “listen” to the patient much more effectively. The first stethoscopes from the book “Clinical Research on Principles and Practices in Medicine” are interesting . Of course, in the future, the invention underwent a number of changes, but the principle and physics of the stethoscope remained unchanged. Later, binaural stethoscopes appeared, which made it possible to hear sounds simultaneously with two ears, and phonendoscopes (the name was given by Nikolai Sergeevich Korotkov) with a stretched membrane to amplify the sound. An interesting story by journalists Bill McQuay and Christopher Joyce, who asked Dr. Adam Lowe, an endocrinologist and general practitioner in Ithaca, New York, to share what happens during student education. It is about working with a stethoscope to detect heart disease. To immerse themselves in the topic, the journalists used recording equipment. Lowe’s experience suggests that a student needs to listen to the hearts of several thousand patients in order to reach a level that will enable them to correctly identify certain symptoms and characteristic signs of diseases. This is what can be heard in the carotid artery, which is different from the “sound” of the patient’s side just below the armpit. Lowe talked about the fact that the patient’s heart murmurs are somewhat similar to the sounds made by both the mitral and aortic valves. Ordinary people don’t hear it simply because they don’t know what they need to hear. The key element is pattern recognition.
“In fact, the sounds that the heart makes are complex,” Lowe says.
Trevor Pinch argues that hearing has a number of advantages over sight, but the problem with studying physical phenomena with sound is that sound comes and goes quickly. Of course, sound recording is in a hurry to help.