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Always essential: how to choose the perfect stethoscope

The stethoscope has long been a hero of the medical industry. With the ability to do everything from check the liver’s size to calculate blood pressure, diagnose pregnant women and check for heart problems (among other things!) It is easy to see why your local doctor always has this essential equipment strapped around their neck.

But choosing the perfect cardiology stethoscope can be tricky, so we thought we would share with you a little information on the different types and how to choose the perfect one for your needs:

What are the different types available?

There are three main types available, including:

Acoustic: The acoustic variation is the basic model that doesn’t offer much in terms of what they can find. Their main, distinctive element is the two-sided chest piece with multiple sound-locating parts. One side – typically the larger side – is a diaphragm that picks up high frequency sounds. The other – a bell – is used to pick up low-frequency sounds as it has low coverage through its smaller surface area.

Littman: This is generally the most favoured option amongst medical practitioners. The Littman variation is built to locate sound from a large frequency range and is easy to use and lightweight.

They rely on a pressure-frequency base that means the frequency of sound you will hear is determined by the amount of pressure you apply to the patient’s body with the diaphragm. This includes hearing low-frequency sounds when applying small amounts of pressure and, naturally, the opposite when applying large amounts of pressure.

Electronic: This variation is a more advanced option and can pick up a wide range of sound frequencies. Typical electronic versions include Bluetooth capability and will provide a fantastic record-keeping ability in addition to the quality recordings it can take. 

However, it is vital to remember that they are generally far more expensive than any other available model, making this option imperative for highly experienced professionals who need to make regular, completely accurate health diagnosis.

Things to look out for when buying a new model

Here are some of the most important things to look out for when buying a new model:

Accuracy: The design must have a high accuracy level, as a good model should be able to cancel outside sound whilst amplifying the sounds taken from the patient to get the most accurate report. The most imperative part to check is the tubing, ensuring that it is durable and strong as this typically produces the most accurate results.

Comfort: The best design for you should always be one that is comfortable and comes with a range of ear tips and sizes as well as be incredibly comfortable to use on the patient.

Decent price: The best thing to look out for here is a model with a reasonable price tag but one that also contains the features you need to conduct an accurate reading.

Durability: The cardiology stethoscope you choose should be incredibly durable and this is especially so if you intend to spend a bit of money on the machine. It should last you at least a few years and should have a premium finish (something like titanium or stainless steel).

Reviews: Your fellow medics will always have accurate things to say about the use of your potential design. It never hurts to have a read through the product’s reviews to see if it is the right medical design for your needs and if it is good value for the price.

By following these tips, you should be able to find the perfect stethoscope for your application!

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