Fig. (2) Laennec's original monaural stethoscope. French physician Rene Theophile Laennec (1781-1826) invented the first stethoscope in 1816, which consisted of a simple hollow tube acoustically linking the auscultator’s ear to the patient’s chest. Before this invention, auscultation involved the awkward positioning of the auscultator’s ear directly on the patient’s chest. The more familiar binaural stethoscope, with tubing going to both ears, was not developed until the 1850s. Wikipedia images used under license as follows: Left: commons/a/a6/Rene-Theophile-Hyacinthe_Laennec_Drawings_stethoscope_1819.jpg Right: Science Museum London / Science and Society Picture Library - Laennec's stethoscope, c 1820. Uploaded by Mrjohncummings, CC BY-SA 2.0, 28024289.