Welcome to our rales page. On this page we provide a definition of rales, including its clinical significance. We then compare rales against rhonchi with audio recordings and text. Finally, there is a link to the rales training lessons available on this site.
Our rales lesson can be found in this course. Secondly, our reference index is designed to provide quick access to stridor sounds, with audio tracks, listening guides and waveforms. Use this link for quick reference to heart and lung sounds.
Rales are abnormal lung sounds characterized by discontinuous clicking or rattling sounds. They can sound like salt dropped onto a hot pan or like cellophane being crumpled. Rales are believed to be caused by the opening of closed air spaces.
What about crackles? Crackles and rales mean the same thing. Refer to our 'crackles' page for more information on fine vs coarse crackles, along with patient recordings for each.
Listen for fine crackles, which are discontinuous, popping sounds similar to Velcro being pulled apart.
When alveoli suddenly pop open with the presence of secretions, rales sounds are thought to be produced.
The following recordings provide examples of what rales sounds like.
Listen for lower pitched, snoring or rattle-like sounds.
Rhonchi are caused by secretions or obstructions in the large airways.
The following recordings provide examples of what rhonchi sounds like.
While we have many breath sound lessons and quick references on this website. Please use the links below.
|Basics of Lung Sounds
The goal of this basic course in lung sounds is to improve auscultation observational skills. We focus on describing important breath sounds and in providing recordings of each. Many students find that waveform tracings aid in learning lung sounds; we have included dynamic (moving cursor) waveforms with each lesson. The anatomy pages use illustrations to reveal an example of each lung sound (anatomy not yet available on smartphones).
|Vesicular - Normal
|Crackles - Fine (Rales)
|Crackles - Coarse (Rales)
|Rhonchi - Low Pitched Wheezes
|Intermediate Lung Sounds
The goal of this intermediate course is to expand your observational skills when auscultating breath sounds. The course lessons include voiced sounds: bronchophony, egophony and whispered pectoriloquy. We also provide auscultation lessons on several types of wheezes, crackles and stridor. Each of these lung sound lessons includes audio, text and dynamic waveform. The anatomy pages use illustrations to reveal an example of each lung sound (anatomy not yet available on smartphones).
|Vesicular - Diminished
|Bronchophony - Healthy
|Bronchophony - Abnormal
|Egophony - e
|Egophony - a
|Whispered Pectoriloquy - Healthy
|Whispered Pectoriloquy - Abnormal
|Wheeze - Expiratory
|Wheeze - Monophonic
|Wheeze - Polyphonic
|Crackles - Early Inspiratory (Rales)
|Crackles - Late Inspiratory (Rales)