Auscultation is the term for listening to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope
The stethoscope is an acoustic medical device for auscultation, or listening to the internal sounds of an animal body. It is often used to listen to lung and heart sounds. It is also used to listen to intestines and blood flow in arteries and veins...

. Auscultation is performed for the purposes of examining the circulatory system
Circulatory system
The circulatory system is an organ system that passes nutrients , gases, hormones, blood cells, etc...

 and respiratory system
Respiratory system
The respiratory system is the anatomical system of an organism that introduces respiratory gases to the interior and performs gas exchange. In humans and other mammals, the anatomical features of the respiratory system include airways, lungs, and the respiratory muscles...

 (heart sounds
Heart sounds
Heart sounds, or heartbeats, are the noises generated by the beating heart and the resultant flow of blood through it...

 and breath sounds
Breath sounds
Respiratory sounds refer to the specific sounds identified through auscultation of the respiratory system with a stethoscope....

), as well as the gastrointestinal system (bowel sounds).

The term was introduced by René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laënnec. The act of listening to body sounds for diagnostic purposes has its origin further back in history, possibly as early as Ancient Egypt.