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Technology That Connects

how a Littmann stethoscope works

Innovation: The heart of every 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope

All 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes offer advanced sound performance and a comfortable fit, thanks to innovative features built into each stethoscope. Discover how each stethoscope part functions, and how they work together to help you achieve the best in your profession.

Learn basic stethoscope usage tips

  • Key Features of a

    3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope

    Key Features of a

    3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope

    stethoscope parts and functions

Made of an aerospace aluminum alloy for strength and lighter weight.


Adjustable by squeezing or pulling apart the eartubes.


Snap-tight and soft-sealing for an excellent acoustic seal and comfortable fit.

Next-generation tubing

To resist skin oils and alcohol, it is made without natural rubber latex or phthalate plasticisers.

Dual-lumen tubing

Eliminates the rubbing noise typically heard when using traditional double-lumen stethoscopes (only applicable to the 3M™ Littmann® Cardiology series).


Used to index, or open, the side of the chest piece that you wish to use.

Chest piece

Available as either a one-sided variant with tunable diaphragm, or a two-sided variant with a diaphragm on one side and a bell on the other.

Tunable diaphragm

Switch between hearing high- and low-frequency sounds by adjusting pressure on chest piece.

Tunable technology

auscultation sounds chart
  • Hearing the highs and the lows

    Various auscultation sounds occupy set regions in the  high and low frequency ranges. As shown in the diagram above, some of these frequencies substantially overlap one another. Because of this, it is important for clinicians to isolate high and low frequencies, and detect and differentiate subtle sounds with their stethoscope.

  • High frequency low frequency sounds

    The tunable diaphragm of a Littmann stethoscope makes auscultation more efficient by eliminating the need to remove, turn over, and reposition the chest piece to hear different frequency ranges. 

    By adjusting the pressure applied to the chest piece, clinicians can isolate each frequency range to discern subtle sounds.

    Light pressure allows low-frequency sounds like S1 and S2 sounds to be heard, while firm pressure will restrict the movement of the diaphragm membrane, block low-frequency sounds, and allow higher-frequency sounds such as respiratory sounds to be heard. 

  • Advantages of tunable technology

    Convenience: Spend less time positioning stethoscopes to hear all auscultation sounds.

    Comparison: Isolation of low and high frequencies provide critical comparisons that offer valuable assessments.

    Consistency: You don’t have to worry about placing your diaphragm in the exact spot where you’ve picked up an anomaly. Simply apply pressure.

Chest piece

  • littmann double-sided chest piece

    A precision-made masterpiece

    3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope chest pieces are precision-machined to capture sounds effectively while having an aesthetically pleasing shape. They are either one-sided with a tunable diaphragm or two-sided with a diaphragm on one side and a bell on the other.

    Chest pieces on the 3M™ Littmann® Classic III™ and 3M™ Littmann® Cardiology IV™ stethoscopes are double-sided with tunable diaphragms on the adult and pediatric sides, which means you only need one stethoscope to auscultate all ages and sizes of patients.

fetal heart sound littmann stethoscope

Connecting to the heart of the patient

It only takes 56 seconds to make a meaningful human connection with a patient – so why not use your stethoscope as a tool to impart a personal touch?

See how 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscopes combine advanced technology with a human touch.

View stethoscopes in the 3M™ Littmann® range

  • Sturdy, refined, and designed for superior acoustic performance.

  • Compact, sensitive and lightweight, it’s perfect for general physical assessments and diagnoses.

  • The lightest adult stethoscope in the range. Suitable for basic assessments.

  • Enhanced amplification and noise reduction for high-performance auscultation of critical sounds. 

Find out where you can purchase a 3M™ Littmann® stethoscope online here.