A stethoscope is the most widely used equipment in medical science. When we see someone with a stethoscope hanging around his or her neck, we understand that the person is a physician. The stethoscope was first discovered in 1816 by French physician Rene Laennec. Basically, it measures the heart rate after placing the machine on the chest by producing a rhythm of sound.
After few decades, Dr. David Littman modified the oldest version of the “stethoscope” a term which is derived from the Greek language. Important aspects of a standard stethoscope include the ear piece, the tubing and its length, the chest piece and the shape.
Types of stethoscopes:
Two types of stethoscopes are available these days which are electronic stethoscope and standard stethoscope. Standard stethoscopes are more popular and are used more than electronic stethoscopes. So, choosing a perfect stethoscope is not easy because it depends on so many factors which are discussed below:
- Stethoscope earpieces
The correct earpieces determine the quality of the sound suitable for wearers hear. Usually, a standard stethoscope has two earbuds which is either made of silicone or the rubber. To ensure correct fit the device comes with different sized ear pieces depending on the brand and quality of the stethoscope.
The perfect earpieces should not become so tight that they impede hearing or are down out the patient’s internal sounds. So snuggly fitted earpieces are the good ones to buy.
- Stethoscope tubing and length
Stethoscopes are available in a variety of sizes generally between 22 and 31 inches (55-80 cm). The most common length which is available is 27 inches(70 cm). A good stethoscope is shorter in size because it conveys patient’s heart beat more efficiently. Though in few clinical cases length doesn’t matter but stethoscope with 27 inches length is best one.
On the other hand, another factor of length of stethoscope is also considerable. The long length of stethoscope is necessary because it helps the user not to lean over the patient. That is an advantage of using long length of stethoscope.
Tubing quality should be kept under consideration to choose a good stethoscope. Because if it has bad quality and thinner material there is a chance of being cracked or wear out sooner. Generally, stethoscope of moderate prices has good tubing quality. Cheaper options may have drawbacks.
- Stethoscope chest piece: Diaphragm and bell
The diaphragm picks up high-frequency sounds made by the heart and lungs. It also can be used for measuring blood pressure. It comes in basic stethoscopes with a single sided chest piece.
Bell comes in the dual-sided chest piece which picks up low-frequency sounds such as heart murmurs or bruits.
So, the purpose of using the best type of stethoscope varies.
- Stethoscope shape
Basic stethoscopes are two eared comprised with a single tube and a round chest piece. But in some cases, flatter or oval chest piece is considered to perform different functions.
Best stethoscopes based on profession and speciality:
- For basic assessment a good quality basic stethoscope is suitable. In case of cardiology a stethoscope having specialty of good sound clarity is perfect.
- For advanced practice in clinic both low and high frequency sound measuring stethoscopes are needed with a good diaphragm.
- For nursing purpose, a good quality of versatile stethoscope is necessary.
- In case of pediatric study, a less intimidating stethoscope is much applicable as it is much adorable for children and teenagers. There are several kinds of stethoscopes that have different sound, quality and durability.
- Best electric stethoscope can amplify sounds more. It only has the diaphragm and works with headphones. Generally,an electric stethoscope comes with a higher cost than a standard stethoscope.
Tips for buying the best stethoscope
You should not go overboard – especially, those who are under training. They should buy it after recommendation from the institute. Generally, longevity and less expensive could be considerable for buying it according to purpose.
Choose a color that will stand out –The most elegant color of stethoscope is black and blue. If you choose among this it might as well match with your co-worker. The looks of the stethoscope is completely upon personal discretion and preferences, although, a stethoscope engraved with your name can be a great choice.
Consider your retailer carefully– You must buy your device from a well-known and reputable store. You must choose a retailer from whom you can buy it without any hesitations or doubts about the quality of the product and also get profitable discount while buying.
Don’t forget the carrying case–They come in different patterns and color and don’t forget to keep them with you.
When you have just started your healthcare career choosing the perfect stethoscope is a little difficult without having the appropriate information. We hope this information will help you to buy the best one for your needs. Keep these tips in your mind and we are sure you will be able to buy a good stethoscope for you.