Last Updated on January 1, 2024 by Richard
Richard says: The best stethoscope for you (or as a present) depends upon its primary usage.
Cardiology stethoscopes provide the best sound clarity and volume, but that sensitivity is of little use to those who do not have the skills to use it.
Dr. Ferreira has selected for you the best options for most users. Whether you are:
- A parent with children
- Medical student
- Paramedic or EMT
You will find just the right stethoscope for your needs.
However, as I read the reviews for these stethoscopes, it is obvious that each of them are preferred by some people, for uses other than those stated by Dr. Ferreira.
For example: A pediatric stethoscope for children, is also a valuable veterinary stethoscope for smaller animals. However, for large animals like horses, a standard adult human stethoscope is more appropriate.
Article by Dr. Helcio Ferreira. Comments by Richard Quick
Quick Guide To Choose The Best Stethoscope (7 best rated options)
The stethoscope is an acoustic device used to hear the internal sounds of the body, its main function is the auscultation of heart sounds or respiratory sounds, it can also be used to hear intestinal sounds or abnormal blood flows in veins or arteries.
The stethoscope is an instrument aimed at doctors, nurses, paramedics, veterinarians, kinesiologists and speech therapists.
It is also necessary to have a stethoscope at home and learn auscultation techniques as preventive medicine. With a home stethoscope, you can measure blood pressure (using a sphygmomanometer), you can hear abnormal heart sounds or bowel sounds.
- Ear tube
How Does The Stethoscope Work?
The bell should be placed on top of the patient’s body. This bell captures and amplifies the sound vibrations that arise from the sounds of the organs. This is possible due to the concave shape of the bell and the ability of the membrane to amplify the sounds.
The sounds captured by the stethoscope are transmitted through the hollow tubes to the eartips, transmitting them to the ears. The tube is made of a thick material to isolate the sounds obtained and increase the acoustic capacity.
Why Does The Stethoscope Have Two Sides?
The stethoscope bell transmits low-frequency sounds, it is ideal for listening to the lungs. The stethoscope diaphragm is designed to detect high frequencies such as heart sounds. The two sides of the stethoscopes are designed to detect the different frequencies, these are their functions:
- Bell mode (low frequency)
Mode to listen to low-frequency sounds such as lung sounds. To auscultate in this mode, place the bell gently on the patient’s skin.
- Diaphragm mode (high frequency)
Mode to capture high-frequency sounds such as heart sounds. To auscultate, you must press firmly on the skin, like a traditional double-bell stethoscope in the diaphragm mode. When exerting this pressure, the membrane moves inwards until it touches an inner ring. This ring restricts the movement of the membrane, blocking the longer wavelengths of low-frequency sounds, allowing only the shortest wavelengths of high frequency sounds to be heard.
How Should The Auscultation Technique Be Performed?
Auscultation is a physical examination procedure that allows you to listen to the internal sounds of the body, such as contractions and heart murmurs, bowel movement or pulmonary ventilation.
Depending on the area of the body, auscultation can be:
- Pulmonary auscultation
It is the most common technique to evaluate the airflow in the airways and the state of the pleural space. The stethoscope is placed on the back at both sides of the spine to listen to the sounds while the patient inspires and exhales; It is complemented by listening on the sides and chest.
- Cardiac auscultation
The stethoscope is placed on the left upper side of the chest to hear the noises generated by the heartbeat and blood flow between its chambers.
- Digestive auscultation
The stethoscope should be placed in the abdominal area, moving it through the different quadrants of the abdomen to assess intestinal peristalsis
Can Fetal Feartbeats Be Heard With The Stethoscope?
Between eighteen and twenty weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s heart is already beating harder and can be heard by placing a stethoscope on the pregnant woman’s belly.
The sounds of the baby’s heart can be differentiated from the mother’s heart because they are faster. The sounds of the baby’s heart can be between 120 and 160 beats per minute.
How To Clean A Stethoscope?
It is necessary to disinfect the parts of the stethoscope that are in permanent contact with the patient, such as the chest piece.
- Clean and disinfect your stethoscope by moistening cotton with 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to clean stainless-steel areas.
- Do not use corrosive liquids in the stethoscope or use sterilizing methods.
- Do not use any corrosive liquid or subject the stethoscope to sterilization processes.
- Do not apply heat or extreme cold on the stethoscope.
- Remove the diaphragms to clean the surface of the thoracic piece with alcohol or water. Dry before assembling the diaphragm.
- Remove the eartips from the tubes to clean them.
How To Measure Blood Pressure Using A Stethoscope?
- Place the cuff of the sphygmomanometer at the height of the heart. The upper edge of the sleeve should be above the elbow.
- Place the stethoscope bell on the elbow, where the arterial beat will be located.
- Inflate the cuff to a pressure of 180mmHg. If the last determinations the systolic pressure was greater than 180mmHg, the cuff should be inflated to a pressure of 20mm Hg higher than the last figure.
- Deflate the cuff progressively until the arterial beats are heard. The first beat you hear will correspond to the systolic pressure when the sound of the beats disappears, it will correspond to the diastolic pressure.
How To Choose The Best Stethoscope?
There are some quality considerations that you should know before choosing a stethoscope. These are the important criteria you should know:
The stethoscope bell should preferably be made of stainless steel to ensure maximum precision, in this way the diaphragm adapts completely to the chest. This manufacturing allows excellent and clear sound. Stainless steel parts offer the best quality.
Metal parts are less efficient and less sensitive than stainless steel. Therefore, a metal stethoscope is cheaper than a stainless steel one, but its quality, sensitivity, and sound are far from a stethoscope made of stainless steel.
- Simple or double
The stethoscope can be a single tube or double tube.
In single-tube stethoscopes, the chest piece will be connected through a single tube that divides into two ends to the ear.
The design of double tube stethoscopes allows each tube to connect directly to each ear.
The simple bell has a membrane on one of its sides. This piece is frequently used by cardiologists to listen to the heart. The bells can have a wide range of frequencies.
Double bell stethoscopes are the best-selling version. Its two sides allow a membrane to listen to high-frequency sounds (heart), and on the other side, it allows a base to listen to low-frequency sounds (lung). The piece can be rotated to be able to use one side of the bell without the interference of the other side.
The membrane ensures that sound waves are collected correctly and transported to the eartips. The membrane must have a high degree of flexibility and sensitivity.
A diaphragm ensures that the high and low frequencies of a stethoscope are collected. With normal pressure, low frequencies are received, and when more pressure is applied to it, then you can listen to high frequencies.
Why Is Littmann The Most Popular Brand Of Stethoscopes?
Littmann stethoscopes are the brand most used by medical professionals due to their excellent sound quality during auscultation. The two most popular models of this brand are the Littmann Classic II and Classic III stethoscopes because they are perfect for use in different medical settings. The main feature is its great acoustic sensitivity.
Littman’s patented technology offers in its stethoscopes a double frequency membrane that allows the health professional to control the frequencies heard by varying the pressure exerted by hand on the bell of the stethoscope. This technology differentiates them from other brands of stethoscopes.
Choose A Stethoscope To Give As A Present
A new stethoscope can be a perfect gift to show health professionals how much you value and appreciate their work. Choose the stethoscope model that best suits your professional needs. Choosing a perfect stethoscope means knowing the difference between bell finishes, sound quality, and tube materials, so we offer you an exclusive collection of high-quality stethoscopes to give away.
Littmann Lightweight II S.E.
Lightweight stethoscope for comfort, this is the stethoscope model most used by nurses for its flexibility and lightweight.
The professional design of this stethoscope offers an adjustable diaphragm to offer greater acoustic sensitivity.
The anatomical design of the eartips also allows greater comfort in the ears to focus on obtaining a reliable diagnosis.
You can find the Littmann Lightweight stethoscope in a wide variety of colors that will suit you.
Richard says: This one is lightweight and not bulky. Which you will appreciate after a long day.
Littmann Classic III
The Littmann Classic III stethoscope renews the design of past stethoscopes to offer high acoustic performance.
The professional design of this stethoscope offers a tunable diaphragm to save valuable time during diagnosis.
This stethoscope also has a renewed design that makes it much easier to clean than other models.
The patented technology of the Littmann Classic III stethoscope offers a tunable diaphragm that allows you to hear different frequencies of sounds by simply pressing. To listen to low-frequency sounds, press down normally. However, if you want to hear high-frequency sounds, simply press hard.
Littmann Classic Pediatric
The Pediatric Littmann Classic II and the Neonatal Classic II are smaller versions of the Classic II stethoscope.
If you need a pediatric stethoscope this is your best option.
The Pediatric Littmann Classic stethoscope has the same characteristics except for the chest piece, which is specifically designed for pediatric patients.
The pediatric model is intended for children up to 12 years old, while the neonatal model is designed for infants.
Great For Children and Pets.
This stethoscope model is for pediatric use only.
Littmann Master Classic II
Littmann is the brand par excellence in this type of medical instruments for professional use.
The stainless-steel bell is specially designed to capture the low and high-frequency sounds without changing the membrane or bell.
This stethoscope offers the best comfort to offer the best service to both the patient and the healthcare provider.
Littmann Master Classic II has a fluctuating membrane to detect high and low-frequency sounds.
The surrounding ring also eliminates the cold of the steel piece, offering comfort to the patient at the time of auscultation.
Best Stethoscope For All-Around Use.
Excellent Acoustic Sensitivity and Ear Comfort.
Littmann Master Classic II stethoscope has been the bestselling stethoscope per year for its effectiveness, versatility, and ease of use.
It is ideal for medical students, doctors, nurses, paramedics and can also be used at home.
Omron Sprague-Rappaport Stethoscope
The Omron Sprague Rappaport stethoscope is ideal for use in patients who are allergic as it has a latex-free body.
This stethoscope is multipurpose since it can be used both by pediatrics and by doctors of other medical specialties.
The versatility and high quality offered at an excellent price make this stethoscope an excellent option for home use.
Best Stethoscope Value
MDF Instruments MD One Stainless Steel Premium Dual Head Stethoscope
Built with latex-free parts and stainless-steel chest piece, the MDF stethoscope is a high-quality diagnostic instrument with high performance and durability.
The chest piece is perfectly designed to adapt to the surface being treated for veterinary use.
The ergonomic design ensures greater comfort for the veterinarian and the patient.
Best Veterinary Stethoscope. Lifetime Warranty.
3M Littmann Cardiology IV Diagnostic Stethoscope
Cardiology stethoscopes are designed to listen to S1, S2, S3 and S4 heart sounds, grade 1, respiratory, abdominal or intestinal murmurs.
Cardiology stethoscopes provide the smallest details and subtleties with great precision.
Most high-performance stethoscopes are included in the Cardiology series (in the case of Littmann) or similar names.
This does not mean that they are only for cardiology, but the stethoscopes of this series have the best acoustic quality required for professionals.
The best cardiac stethoscope provides the clearest sounds for easy, accurate use.
Best Cardiology Stethoscope For Use In The ER & ICU.