A stethoscope is a medical device which is used to listen to the internal sounds of human beings or even of animal body. It is one of the most essential piece medical instruments. A stethoscope can also be put in work to listen to the sounds made by lungs, intestines, heart and as well as the flow of the blood in veins and arteries.
Since stethoscope made it’s entrance in the medical field, it has evolved a lot in terms of technology and also in terms of what the professional specialists and doctors actually look for when they listen through it.
A stethoscope consist of eight ( 8 ) important parts:
Chest piece is also known as the as the head of the stethoscope. It is round in shape. It is the part which is put against the chest of a patient’s body in order to hear the internal sounds. Works best when put directly to the patient’s skin. The responsibility of a stethoscope is to detect, capture and transferring sound to the headset. Also, it is the most important part amongst all the other parts of the stethoscope.
It totally depends on the model that a stethoscope would either have a one-sided or two-sided chest piece.
The circular end and the round part of the chest piece is known as a diaphragm. It is the large size of it which allows you to listen to the wider area of the patient’s body. It’s speciality is that it can detect sounds of higher frequencies.
These days, the diaphragm are designed in such a way that the patient does not feel chill of it when put directly to the skin of patient.
A bell is a circular end of a chest piece. Because of it being smaller in size, It can detect sounds with lower frequencies in comparison to the diaphragm and is totally ideal for, what are to be known as the smaller body parts.
The part which connects the chest piece to the tubing of the stethoscope is known as the Stem. It is usually made up of steel or metal, It also ensure a secure link for the optimum performance. It can also allow you to switch between the bell and diaphragm or vise a versa.
The tubing is a PVC material pipe or a rubber that simply connects the chest piece to the stethoscope. Its’s natural function is to transfer the sound waves picked up by the diaphragm and the bell to the headset with minimum quality loss, It all basically depends on the type or the quality of the tube.
The headset is considered to be the upper half part of the stethoscope. It makes sure that there’s a efficient flow of the sound that goes to the ear canal with least disturbance possible.
The hollow metal tubes that connect the acoustic tubes to the ear tips is known as an ear tube. The tension springs usually rest between the ear tubes which helps you to decide and adjust how tight your stethoscope should sit on your ears.
The part that goes inside the ear is known as a ear tip. Ear buds are usually made out of silicone or rubber. They are normally placed on the ends of a ear tubes and further have a hole in the middle for letting out the sound. The ear tips should generally be soft and yet should be quite hard to create a seal in your ears and eliminate all the external sound.
Just like technology everything has changed even the way how stethoscopes used to work earlier. The main types of stethoscopes are:
It works by focusing more sound waves towards the ear than it would normally be reaching. The sound waves must produce certain kind of vibrations in air molecules that cause changes in air pressure which make our eardrum vibrate in turn and in order to hear a voice. Sounds like stomach gurgling or a heart beating cause sound wave naturally, which hits the metal chest piece the moment you place it on the patient.
The sound waves are then channelled further through a rubber tube towards a specific direction until they hit the metal piece and then finally the ears. Because tubing is responsible for carrying the sound waves, a lot of them would reach your ears than it would naturally / otherwise, while amplifying the sound. That is the reason why listening to a patient’s heart beat on stethoscope is way much clear and louder than you usually would hear while putting your head directly to their chest.
Electronic stethoscopes are also known as digital stethoscope. They have limitation as to how much they can amplify the sounds, unlike acoustic stethoscope. Electronic stethoscope picks up the physical vibrations of the sound, and changes them into an electronic signal and further optimize them for enhanced diagnosis and listening. Some of the electronic stethoscopes also carries the ability to diminish the background noises in addition to simply increase the volume accordingly.
Most of the electronic stethoscope are designed just like any other stethoscope available. These kind of stethoscopes are either rechargeable or battery powered, so if you have not charged it or if the battery is dead, it won’t work at all.
There are ample amount of options available for medical professionals who are hearing impaired. These kind of stethoscopes increases the volume in order to make the more audible. If you don’t wear any kind of hearing aid then you can use these kind stethoscope very normally and conveniently. And if you do wear any kind of hearing aid then you can try a special kind of adapters known as stethomate tips. These tips allows / helps you to use the stethoscope along with your hearing aid.
If you get uncomfortable with wearing your traditional stethoscope along with your hearing aid, another option is of using a digital stethoscope that gives you the access to plug in headphones.
Cardiology stethoscopes are used in the cardiac assessments, as the title suggests. These kind of stethoscope are used to differentiate between different types of sounds of the heart in order to get the most precise diagnosis.
Little patients need equally small medical instruments as per the convenience / requirement. The pediatric stethoscope looks just like any other stethoscope but only the head of the it is scaled down till the time it’s about an inch in diameter. Infant stethoscopes are available too which consist of smaller chest pieces for every tiniest infants.
Veterinary stethoscopes should be considered by doctors or medical specialists, who treat animals. It’s specially designed for mammals other than human beings. Sometimes, some veterinarians can be using an infant stethoscope / pediatric stethoscope in order to check smaller animals or pets like a hamster or birds.
This particular type of stethoscope have two ( 2 ) tubes that reaches directly from the stethoscope’s piece to the ear piece which is metal curved. The tubes are held together with metal clips in order so that they don’t separate. The double barrelled design is calculated to boost the sound quality.
175-180 grams of speciality stethoscope is the heaviest that could be put in use but even the smallest increase in weight on your neck can end up being awful if you’re already having issues with neck or having a back pain. Specially, if it’s what you have to keep wearing all day long. Company like Littman do generally make couple of select and lightweight models that can weigh more in the range of 115 grams-120 grams. These kind of stethoscopes might not be able to provide you same kind of precision level that other stethoscopes offer in comparison of it.
Traditional acoustic stethoscopes can even offer plenty of options when it turns to design of the head.
There are three ( 3 ) general types of models which are available for you to choose from:
The following are the most important uses of a stethoscope:
There are total of four ( 4 ) kinds of breathes that can be recognised by the stethoscope:
It is not necessarily important that every medical student needs to have a stethoscope with them but for a physician it can definitely be proved to be an essential tool. It can simply allow a physician to hear internal sounds of your body, which can help figuring out / diagnose what a patient is actually going through.
3M Littmann Classic III & 3M Littmann Cardiology IV Stethoscopes could be the best one in the play if you are looking/depending on a high quality stethoscopes. They generally come in two (2) different varieties, which is a high performance model with more acoustic sensitivity and a low performance model that provide you with a higher level of comfort.
The answer to this question may vary to the school / college or the program you are following. Though, the stethoscopes are generally considered to be a very important tool for the for the students who are pursuing medical. Most schools would normally provide their first year students with a stethoscope.
The flowing are the best stethoscopes available right now:
Stethoscopes from Littmann brand are the best in the business. It is the gold standard in amongst the other companies stethoscopes and for all the medical professionals who are in need of a stethoscope.
Stethoscopes by Littmann are considered to be of the gold standard for all the doctors, nurses, medical advance practitioners and medical students. It is known for it’s compactness and lightweight ( basically, for it’s top quality in wide range of prices and ranges ) . It is also considered to be perfect for general kind of physical diagnoses and assessments.
The Littmann three ( 3 ) contains two ( 2 ) different tubes, whereas, the Littmann two ( 2 ) doesn’t. Hence, Littmann three definitely provide better sound but Littmann two is also descent enough while you use it.
Double lumen stethoscopes are comparatively considered to be more sensitive than the single because double lumen stethoscopes can provide an individual sound to each of the ear. This further helps in listening to the subtle characteristics of heart sounds and also murmurs in a more distinct way. Mostly, the companies produce a dual-channelled stethoscopes with two ( 2 ) lumens just inside a single tube.
Littmann is proved to be four ( 4 ) times louder in a 3M test conducted which showed that the sound of a heart of an adult’s diaphragm was comparatively louder 20db ( decibel ) than that of the different brand’s stethoscope. The example is accurately just as same as the difference between whispering and talking.
There are various steps that you can ensure in order to confirm if the Littmann stethoscope, that you are possessing is genuine or not: