Word of the Week: Auscultation

illustration of scientist looking into microscope - word of the week

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Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.


How to say itAuscultation (oss-cull-TATE-shun)

What it means: Listening to the sounds organs make inside the body.

Where it comes from: Latin, auscultatio, "to listen"

Nurse using stethoscope on a patient in home - stock photo

Terry Vine / Getty Images

Where you might see or hear it: One of the most common things your provider will do at a routine check-up is to listen to your heart with a stethoscope. They may also listen to your lungs as you breathe. This is called "auscultating."

If you're having symptoms, listening to your organs can help figure out if there's a problem. For example, a provider can listen to the sounds in your abdomen to see if your digestive tract is working.

When you might want to use it: If you have a chronic condition like emphysema, your provider will probably listen to your lungs often. This helps them keep an eye on how your lungs' function is being affected by the disease.

While it's just as easy to say, "my provider listens to my lungs to see how they're working," you could also say that your provider auscultates your lungs at every appointment.

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