Time to go tubeless!


Interestingly, earphones, or headphones and stethoscopes have the same origin. The earliest headphone was used to auscultate a patient. That is the only function of the headphone, a stethoscope headphone.

Earphones evolve fast

The earphones have been advanced very quickly in recent years, from headphones to earphones, from wired earphones to Bluetooth wireless earphones, and from non-noise cancelling earphones to noise cancelling earphones. The move from wired earphones to TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earphones is a game changer. It is more convenient for people to wear, especially when people do physical excise, such as running. The TWS earphones also make the earphones very easy to carry and store. No need to worry all the wires are tangled together. The active noise cancelling function further enhances the user experience. A user can easily switch between the noise cancelling mode and the transparent mode. For example, it is not necessary to pull off the earphones to talk with people. Just need to switch the earphones to transparent mode, which allows the outer sounds to come into the ears. When enjoying music, simply switch the earphones to noise cancelling mode. Then the world becomes very quiet and you can tune into your favorite rhythms.

Stethoscope evolves slowly

Compared with the hearable, earphones, another hearable, stethoscope, evolves very slowly. Is it because doctors don't love innovation? Guess not. The major reasons could be that the OLD digital solutions can't provide matched auscultation experience compared with a traditional stethoscope. Different from an earphones which only has output unit, a stethoscope has both an input unit (chestpiece) and an output unit (earpieces). The overall auscultation experience is determined by both units. Before the active noise cancelling technology was introduced, earpieces of the stethoscope can better seal the ears and prevent the ambient noise comes into the ears. Another reason is related to the wire of earphones vs tube of a stethoscope. When the chestpiece and earpieces are separated and thus the tube is eliminated, earphones are needed. In the past, most earphones are wired, so replacing the tube with wire doesn't improve user experience and might even make it worse - wires are easier to tangle together than the tube. Some digital stethoscope still keeps the original form the stethoscope and has the tube. By doing so, it seems not too much benefit is introduced. There is still a tube. It is still very bulk and even heavier. Still need to hang over the neck. Still clips the two ears.

It is time to change

Based on the above analysis, to innovate the stethoscope, we need to innovate both the earpieces and the chestpiece, so that we can eliminate the tube. Fortunately, active noise cancelling TWS earphones are very popular nowadays. We don't need to re-invent the earpieces, we just need to make a chestpiece compatible with the main stream TWS earphones such as Apple's AirPods and AirPods Pro. By doing so, let's see how better auscultation experience can be provided:

  • The tube is eliminated. The tube of a classic stethoscope can actually pickup ambient noise. To prevent that, normally stethoscope manufacturers use very thick tube to attenuate the ambient noise and thus make the stethoscope heavy. With the tube eliminated, there is less chance to pickup ambient noise. With the tube eliminated, the whole stethoscope system (including both the earpieces and the chestpiece) becomes smaller. It is not necessary to hang over the neck any more.
  • The earpieces are changed to TWS earphones. The earpieces clip the ears very tightly to hear the sounds clearly. It is not comfortable to wear them for longer time. When a doctor does auscultation, put them on. Put them off immediately after auscultation. When TWS earphones are used, it is not necessary to take the earphones off because the transparency mode of TWS earphones doesn't prevent talking voice. A doctor can wear earphones when talking to a patient. When auscultating a patient, the doctor can turn on noise cancelling and the whole environment becomes very quiet, even quieter than when a stethoscope is worn.
  • Direct sound transmission from the chestpiece to earphones. Some digital stethoscope needs to transmit the sounds to a smartphone and then from the smartphone to the earphones. The smartphone works as a bridge between the chestpiece and the earphones. To make the smartphone work, the app needs to be started. When a doctor or a nurse wants to auscultate a patient, the doctor or the nurse needs to pull out the phone and run the app, increasing the complexity. If direct pairing and transmission is supported, no need to use a phone to bridge, greatly simplifying the process.

Stemoscope PRO can meet all the three above requirement and provide ideal tubeless auscultation experience. It can directly transmit sounds to paired Bluetooth earphones in its earphone mode. If you want other digital functions, you can use its smartphone mode, only when needed. In most cases, just switch it on and listen with your favorite earphones.

It is time to eliminate the tube, free the neck and stop to clip the ears.


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