How an iPod can improve stethoscope skills. “The iPod or other listening device can help train doctors to use their stethoscope more and be more efficient, according to TIME. Dr. Michael Barrett of Temple University in Philadelphia, in a study published today in the American Journal of Medicine, concluded that medical students improved their stethoscope skills dramatically if they listened to certain digitally recorded soundtracks that mimic the distinctive vibrations produced by various valve problems and other cardiac conditions.

According to the report, Barrett discovered that you have to listen to a recording about 500 times to reliably discriminate between the different sounds made by various heart problems. After listening to the sounds on their iPod, a group of medical students were better able to identify the heart sounds on a test””up from 30% before the practice listening session to 80 after using the iPod.”

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