The constant evaluation of diagnostic procedures and effectiveness ensures that doctors and other medical professionals will be able to accurately gauge the patient’s health problem and come up with methods to treat it. Using medical tools like a stethoscope will greatly improve the efficacy and accuracy of your diagnosis. And If you’re looking for the best stethoscope to use for your practice, then you might want to read on because we’ll be taking a look at the top stethoscopes brands on the market.
We’ll be taking a look at popular stethoscope choices used by doctors worldwide. Expect to see both cheap and expensive stethoscopes alike. Lastly, we’ll also be covering more modern-day electronic stethoscopes that have some pretty high tech features.
Who Needs a Stethoscope?
The stethoscope is one of the most useful tools doctors have in performing a diagnosis. It allows listening to what’s going on inside of the patient’s body. The tool is mostly used to check for irregularities in the heart, breathing in the lungs, and even bowel sounds in the abdomen.
Benefits of Stethoscope
Using a stethoscope can help physicians make more accurate diagnoses since it helps them amplify sounds inside your body. The amplified sounds travel through the stethoscope’s tube up to the earpieces.
Because of this doctors can use it to listen to their patient’s lungs, heart, and other parts of the body. A doctor can even use a stethoscope to measure their patient’s blood pressure manually with a sphygmomanometer.
What is the Importance of a High-Quality Stethoscope?
According to a study by Graham Neale, misdiagnoses make up to 10% of the causes of negative and harmful hospital practices. Improper diagnosis can lead to problems like taking the wrong medicine as well as wasting money on ineffective treatment methods.
Having better and more effective tools to use will allow doctors to have an easier finding out the problem and will give them a better chance of diagnosing their patients more accurately.
Being tools used for diagnosis, the same logic applies to stethoscopes as well. The higher the quality of the stethoscope, the more likely it is to provide better sound quality for its users.
What are the Most Common Types of Stethoscopes?
Currently, there are many different types of stethoscopes like cardiology, pediatric, veterinary, and so much more. But they are very specialized types of stethoscopes which don’t make them a good option for general use.
Thankfully, there is also another way we can differentiate stethoscopes between analog and a digital one. Namely, acoustic stethoscopes and electronic stethoscopes. These two could be a better option when choosing something to buy for general use, so we’ll be going with these two.
This type of stethoscope is the classic and basic king. It helps amplify the sounds your body makes. The diaphragm and the chest piece of the stethoscope capture sounds, made by the body and it travels into the rubber tubs directly into the physician’s ear allowing them to hear things more accurately.
Electronic stethoscopes on the other hand are more modern and more accurate. This type of stethoscope converts the physical vibrations sound and turns them into electronic signals which allow the physician to store and record the sound as data.
This makes diagnosis more convenient since it can be replayed over and over again as well as making it more accessible to other physicians to give their second opinions. Asides from this, electronic stethoscopes can also increase the volume of the recorded sound as well as reduce background noise.
These are just some of the basic features of electronic stethoscopes and they have so much more like adjusting frequency, annotations, and instant sharing. Sadly, most electronic stethoscopes are very expensive which can put a lot of people off from buying it.
A stethoscope can be identified to have 3 main parts; The chest piece, the headset, and the tubing.
The chest piece
The chest piece is the rounded metal part of the stethoscope that doctors use to directly listen to your heart and lungs. It consists of the bell and the diaphragm which can be used to listen to different frequencies. The bell helps doctors listen to low-frequency sounds while the diaphragm to high-frequency sounds.
The headset of a stethoscope has 3 main parts: the tension springs, the ear tubes, and the ear tips.
The tension springs keep the ear tubes apart to provide comfort for the user while the ear tubes help carry the sounds from the rubber tubing directly in the ear tips. The ear tips are simply padded parts that you insert into your ears.
The simplest of all the parts, the tubing’s job is to connect the chest piece to the headset. By connecting the two parts, it can relay sounds captured from the chest piece directly into the physician’s ears.
There are many brands of high-quality stethoscopes but the most famous of them all would probably be the Littmann. This brand of this stethoscope is known for its high-quality acoustics and durable design.
How to Choose the Best Stethoscopes
Choosing a stethoscope isn’t hard but there are some factors you need to consider like the price, the sound quality, and its features.
Acoustics vs price
Most quality stethoscopes have amazing acoustics that helps the doctor listen to subtle sounds in the patient’s body. Sadly, these stethoscopes lean more on the expensive side which can be a problem for medical professionals who don’t have a big budget.
With this, we recommend that you try to find a stethoscope with a good price to sound quality ratio.
What features does it offer?
Other things to consider are features that the stethoscope has that makes your job easier. It could be something as simple as tunable diaphragms.
The warranty of the stethoscope is also very important. You’ve paid good money for this and it would be a waste if the seller won’t offer a warranty to replace damaged parts or offer repairs on their part.
Materials used in construction
The materials used in making the stethoscope matter as well. We recommend choosing a stethoscope made out of stainless steel or at least have a stainless steel finish. This will help ensure that you’ll be using it for a very long time
Tube type and length
One overlooked factor to consider is the tubing of the stethoscope. Do you want a longer tubing or a shorter one?
You should also take into consideration the type of tubing as well since it matters. Should you go for a single lumen tubing or a double lumen one?
Single lumen tubings are generally cheaper but double-lumen tubings are more sensitive since they provide an individual sound channel to each of your ears.
Color and style options
The least important factor to consider is the design of the stethoscope. Some come in different color options like red, blue, and gold but these things hardly matter when it comes to diagnosis.