Equal To (or Better Than) - The Glia Stethoscope VS The Current Standard

Equal To (or Better Than) - The Glia Stethoscope VS The Current Standard

Article Written By:

Doruntina Yakoub
Researcher, Medical Student

The stethoscope itself, and the act of using a stethoscope, is a symbol of modern medicine. Initially being used to detect early signs of cardiac and pulmonary pathologies, the design and use of these medical devices has evolved tremendously over the past two centuries. Regardless of advancements of other hand-held medical technologies, physicians continuously rely on the stethoscope as a way not only to diagnose and treat patients, but to connect with them as well. Despite the indispensable role the stethoscope plays in the diagnosis of disease and establishment of therapeutic relationships, it remains inaccessible to many allied health professionals in both low and middle-income countries. With the latest models of modern stethoscopes costing upwards of several hundred US dollars, cost is an undeniable barrier to unequal access of these medical devices.


The Glia Stethoscope is a uniquely designed device created for medical professionals and used for the same purposes as traditional stethoscopes. It sets the bar in stethoscope quality compared to stethoscope price. Developed from a design similar to the Littmann Cardiology III, the majority of its design elements include 3D printed components making it easy-to-replace or repair and a perfect lightweight and cost-effective option. 


• Performance: Glia’s model stethoscope has undergone peer-reviewed validation. Using a phantom-based frequency response setup, it was found that the Glia’s Stethoscope performed similarly to the standard of care Littmann Cardiology III stethoscope across spectral frequencies of 86 Hz to 5000 Hz.  The attenuation of each stethoscope was measured and compared, with no significant differences noted.

• Sustainability: 3D printed components make up most of Glia’s stethoscope design. Since 3D printing production can be personalized based on the individual needs of the user, these devices can easily be replaced or repaired without the need to reproduce the whole device. Additionally, 3D printed components of the stethoscope can be manufactured using recycled materials. The design of this model stethoscope has also been refined and revised many times since its conception. Design revisions can easily and accurately be made using computer simulations when manufacturing 3D printed devices. This allows for the production of more specific prototypes without creating unnecessary waste. Overall, the use of 3D printed medical devices contributes to a shift towards the delivery of more sustainable medical care.

• Accessibility: The low production cost of Glia’s high-quality model stethoscope is one of its most attractive qualities. In total, Glia’s stethoscope can be manufactured for approximately $7.00 USD. On top of this, all of Glia’s designs are open source. This means that all design specifications are non-proprietary and made available to anyone who is interested in producing these devices. This allows medical centers in low-resource settings to manufacture Glia’s model stethoscope based on specific need and material availability. Glia’s stethoscope is now used by allied health professionals in low and middle-income healthcare settings all over the world.

• Versatility: Glia’s model stethoscope has unique features that distinguish it from the standard stethoscope. Made from durable, light weight material, Glia’s stethoscope is as easy to use as it is accurate. As an added bonus, since Glia’s stethoscopes is made from plastic materials only, it can safely be used in high magnetic fields making it an excellent option for use in MRI rooms.

• Innovation: The open-source design of the Glia stethoscope allows for endless innovation. Not only can individuals customize and modify the printing designs to fit their needs, but they can also add on to the design as well. This allows for never-ending development of this device, with the possibility of addition or subtraction of certain elements based on the needs of specific allied health professionals.

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