A stethoscope is the one must-have medical equipment for every single doctor. It is the most important tool used for screening patients for gastrointestinal complications, heart and lung abnormalities.
Listening to the body sounds of internal organs is referred to as auscultation. This is an important procedure as it can lead to the correct diagnosis of the condition of a patient. It is therefore important for medical doctors to have the best auscultation tool in their hands.
Why Doctors Need Stethoscopes
It is difficult to listen to internal body sounds through solely using the ears. Moreover, direct auscultation is very difficult. Since some sounds are very similar and confusing, even using the best cheap stethoscope will not make much difference.
A high-quality stethoscope is the best tool to use if you want to hear better and make more accurate diagnosis.
A doctor or nurse stethoscope will be used regularly in your daily practice. You therefore not only need the best quality steth, but also one you are comfortable with. Remember, the steth will be part of your clothing accessory.
RELATED: Best Stethoscope Brands
During consultation appointments, some patients are never sure of exactly where it hurts. You will have to examine them carefully and make the correct diagnosis. This needs a lot of auscultations of the arteries, neck, abdomen, lungs and other body parts.
Body sounds from different internal organs indicate different health conditions. There are instances when the sound output will not be clear. This is especially when the sounds are of low frequency or are overly high pitched.
Some of the best stethoscopes for nurses are also used by doctors. There is really no clear-cut rule about use of specific stethoscopes by particular professionals. In most cases, your area of work should help you decide which stethoscope to buy. For example, both nurses and doctors that deal with children can use a Littmann cardio stethoscope.
If you already have an idea of your ideal stethoscope, check our recommendations.
Top Rated Doctor Stethoscopes
|USA||5.7 ounces||27 inches||3 years|
|USA||6.6 ounces||27 inches||7 years|
|USA||6.6 ounces||27 inches||2 years|
|USA||14.4 ounces||None||2 years|
|USA||6.6 ounces||27 inches||7 years|
Read on to know what to consider when searching for the best doctors stethoscopes.
What to Consider When Evaluating a Doctor’s Stethoscope
The design, size and make of the chest piece are important factors to consider when shopping for a stethoscope. Big, heavy stethoscopes have better sound output than their smaller sized counterparts.
The material used in making the chest piece will have a big impact on the weight of the stethoscope. The common materials used are aluminum and plastic or titanium and stainless steel.
Also, consider the features of the chest piece. Is it double-sided or single-sided? Does it have a bell and a diaphragm or a diaphragm only?
This is the part of the stethoscope that goes directly into your ears to help you with auscultation. Earpieces are mostly available in rubber seal, snap-tight and threaded forms. Each of the forms has its advantages and disadvantages.
For instance, although hard ear tips like the snap tight ones produce clearer sounds, rubber sealed tips are more comfortable to wear. On the other hand, rubber sealed tips reduce the clarity of the sound produced.
The diaphragm of a good stethoscope should be made of high quality but flexible material. If the diaphragm is made of poor quality material, it will not detect miniscule body sounds.
In addition, the diaphragm will be more helpful if it’s tunable. A tunable diaphragm will enable you listen to sounds at different frequencies without the need to rotate or move the entire gadget.
The tube if the part of the stethoscope that transfers the sounds from the body organs to the ears. That’s why you need to consider the stethoscope tubing.
A tube made of quality materials and that is of reasonable length is ideal. If the tube is too short, your patient will be uncomfortable. If it is too long, you will be uncomfortable.
Quality tubes have a double lumen and are made of thick materials that improve sound transmission by reducing background noises. However, most tubes you will come across will be made of hard but flexible materials.
Types of Stethoscopes
Since patients’ diagnoses vary, so do stethoscopes. The heart and lungs, for example, may need you to use different stethoscopes for examination as they produce different sounds.
A physician may also need a different stethoscope for general practice, pediatric and emergency. These unique requirements are what lead to the manufacture of different types of stethoscopes as highlighted below:
These stethoscopes enhance sound levels using technology. The stethoscopes enable the doctor to hear better and therefore make a more accurate diagnosis. The quality of sound output of electronic stethoscopes is better than that of most traditional stethoscopes.
There are two main types of electronic stethoscopes:
a) Digitizing Stethoscopes
These stethoscopes detect sounds using sensors and convert them into digital signals. After conversion, the sounds pass through a circuit that filters, amplifies and then converts them to digital data.
b) Amplifying Stethoscopes
This stethoscope amplifies the sounds to enable the doctors to hear the sounds produced by internal body organs more distinctly.
These are the traditional stethoscopes that have a chestpiece and earpiece connected by a tube as the main component.
Types of Stethoscopes Based and their Functions
Due to the variety of features in different stethoscopes, their uses also vary. For example, stethoscopes used by cardiologists for cardio examination are different from those used by surgeons during surgery.
Other types of stethoscopes that care categorized based on functions include Recovery stethoscopes, ICU and CCU stethoscopes, pediatric stethoscopes, floors stethoscopes, ER stethoscopes, and cardiac stethoscopes.
Choose the Best Stethoscope for Doctors
Wondering which stethoscope to buy? Read on.
Choosing a quality stethoscope is a complex affair. To find the best stethoscope for nurses and doctors, consider the following:
If you have not allocated enough money for a stethoscope, you will be unable to buy the best quality ones. Nevertheless, you can still get a cheap but quality stethoscope that gives you the most value for your money.
A stethoscope is only as cheap as it can last. You can spend quite some money in a durable stethoscope or spend less on low quality one that you will repeatedly have to purchase replacement parts for. In the end, both ways you will have used a lot of money. So, really, there is nothing like a cheap stethoscope.
Go for a high-quality stethoscope if you can afford it. A high-quality stethoscope will withstanding damages and pressure, and will function effectively for a long time. Also, since the stethoscopes are more durable, you will be spared the hassle of always ordering replacement parts, which I’m sure you have little time for as a doctor or a nurse.
Reliability and Quality
Every purchase is an investment. Therefore, consider reliability and quality before buying a steth. Compromising on quality can result into fatal mistakes during diagnosis. To avoid this, go for a highly reliable doctor’s stethoscope.
Big, heavy steths produce clearer and crispier sounds than lighter ones. However, there are situations and medical departments where the small lighter stethoscopes are more ideal than the big, heavy ones.
Choosing a stethoscope that will be ideal for your specific medical department, locality or situation. For example, if you are still in school, the stethoscope you choose will largely depend on the school’s requirements.
Check the parts of the stethoscope. Ensure the potential stethoscope will not only be comfortable to wear, but also durable and have great acoustic capabilities.
Not all stethoscopes have bells. However, if you are going for one that has a bell and a diaphragm, make sure both parts are useful in distinguishing high pitched sounds and low frequency sounds.
Also, consider the tubes. Are they double lumen? What about the material used to make the earpiece, will it be comfortable for your ears?
If you are in school, follow the school guidelines and requirements when purchasing your doctor stethoscope. Find out what you will be asked to do with the stethoscope so that you don’t buy an expensive stethoscope you may not need.
Do not forget your personal requirements when evaluating a stethoscope. For example, if you have hearing problems, you should get the best stethoscope for hard of hearing. If you want a cool stethoscope for nurses, you may want a purple, pink or light blue stethoscope.
How Much Does a Stethoscope Cost (For Doctors & Nurses)
The cost of stethoscopes vary depending on various factors such as brand, features, quality and so on. For example, the best stethoscope for ER nurses may not be the same price as a cardiologist stethoscope. On the same note, a Littmann Master Classic III price is different from a Welch Allyn Tycos stethoscope price because they are from different brands.
Choosing doctors or nurses stethoscope is easy. However, choosing the best one in the market is the real challenge.
In most cases, quality goes hand in hand with high price. However, choose a doctor’s stethoscope that gives you the best value for your money.
When evaluating a stethoscope, consider how reliable and durable it will be.
When talking about a doctor’s or nursing stethoscope, we are talking about people’s lives. Therefore, do not compromise on the quality of the tool you will use on your patient. As a doctor, you are only as good as the tools in your hands.
So, what is the best stethoscope for doctors? To recap, here are the top rated stethoscopes for doctors:
- Littmann Master Classic II (Read review)
- Littmann Electronic 3100 (Read review)
- 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope
- Littmann Cardiology IV
- Thinklabs One
If you are looking for a place where to buy a good stethoscope, here are our recommendations:
You can find different types of Littmann stethoscopes at Amazon. Some of the popular models available at Amazon include: Littmann dual head stethoscope, Master Cardiology II, Littmann stethoscope III, Littmann stethoscope Master Classic II, Littmann Master Cardiology II, and others.
Apart from Littmann, there are also other brands of stethoscopes available at Amazon such as MD stethoscope.