To the average person they all look pretty much the same, the best stethoscope for doctors used by your family doctor will be somewhat different from the one used by your veterinarian.
Here is a comprehensive article on the Best Stethoscope For A Medical Student for consideration
Many Different Models Available
Plus, as there are so many different models available, personal choice plays a great deal in the final selection of what stethoscope your local medical professional uses.
Although there is still one common thread that connects all of these devices – they tend to get cold when not in use.
Actually, even that is becoming a thing of the past with the creation of non-chill rims.
Let’s Take A Look Shall We….
With that in mind, we will take a look at best stethoscope brands for doctors as well as the different types of stethoscopes in the marketplace with an emphasis on the best stethoscope brands for doctors . Then we will take a close look at what features you can expect in a stethoscope and what those features are meant for. We will complete this look at stethoscopes by presenting a detailed review of the top seven stethoscopes.
So brace yourselves and breathe deeply as we look inside what makes the stethoscope such a vital piece of equipment and consider the best stethoscope for nurses, students and doctors.
Like To Jump Straight To Stethoscopes?
What Is A Stethoscope?
A stethoscope is a medical device that allows one to listen to sounds contained inside the body. This is accomplished by placing the small resonator, which is disc-shaped, against the area of the body being examined. A pair of tubes runs from the resonator to two separate earpieces allowing for sound to travel directly to the ear.
Listen To The Heart, Lungs And Chest
A stethoscope is commonly used to listen to sounds coming from within the lungs or heart. There is many benefits of using a stethoscope apart from checking the heart as it can also be used to hear sounds in the intestines and to blood as it flows through the circulatory system.
Using A Stethoscope And Sphygmomanometer Together
A fine example of this is when a blood pressure reading is being conducted. The stethoscope is then used along with a sphygmomanometer. Because a stethoscope can provide acute listening access, they are also useful in auto mechanics where listening to the internal workings of an automobile engine can assist in determining what a problem may be.
Ultimately, stethoscopes are used in the medical or mechanic fields as a device to assist with diagnosing some kind of problem that cannot be readily identified from external examination.
The Different Types of Stethoscopes
There are a number of different types of stethoscopes and they fall under a handful of specific categories. They include the following:
This is the most commonly used style of stethoscope. It sends sound through air-filled tubes from the resonator disc to earpieces. The resonator contains two sides which are used to listen to internal organs.
A diaphragm side is vibrated by body sounds which are sent through the hollow tubes in the form of acoustic pressure waves. The bell side picks up the same waves that are created from vibrations of the skin.
This kind of stethoscope, also known as a stethophone, converts the acoustic pressure waves into electrical signals. As an acoustic stethoscope produces generally low level sounds to the listener, an electronic stethoscope amplifies the sound much in the same way a stereo amplifier increases the volume of sound being played through speakers.
This is a variation of the electronic stethoscope where an external recording device can be attached via an audio output port. In other words, this type of stethoscope can record the sounds it is capable of hearing so that they can be archived, documents or studied further without having to schedule additional examination time with a patient.
This is a very different looking stethoscope, or fetoscope, which is used to listen to the heart sounds of a growing fetus. It is placed against the abdomen of a pregnant woman to do this. The fetoscope does not look like any other kind of stethoscope as it is shaped like a trumpet when the wide piece sits on the patient and listening is provided by an earpiece attached directly to the horn-shaped device.
This kind of stethoscope is designed to electronically measure the Doppler effect of reflected ultrasound waves as they bounce off of internal organs. This particular type of stethoscope is useful when it is required to identify matters that an acoustic stethoscope is not sensitive enough to hear.
3D-Printed – This is an open-source stethoscope that ‘listens’ to internal organs through 3D printing. The Littman Cardiology 3 stethoscope dating from the 1960s was the prototype used to develop this technology which was required due to a lack of medical equipment available during a war effort in 2012.
The Different Stethoscope Features
What is a stethoscope used for? This is the most important part of any stethoscope as this provides the listening tool. However, since not all of us have the same level of hearing, the acoustic resonator may not produce loud enough sounds for the hard of hearing.
However, with electronic stethoscopes, the sounds gathered by the resonator can be amplified. This is why it is a good idea to ‘test’ several stethoscopes to see if you are able to clearly hear the sounds created by the resonator.
As is the case with any kind of product, you will want a stethoscope that is made from strong and durable materials. Typically the resonator will be made of aluminum and the tubes that send sound to your ears will be made of rubber.
These materials, when high quality aluminum and rubber are used, will last a long time if your stethoscope is used properly and keep clean and stored properly when not in use.
A good stethoscope for medical students will last for many years. These materials will also make your stethoscope lightweight.
As these aluminum and rubber stethoscopes are lightweight, they should also offer comfort to the user. As they may spend several hours around the neck of a doctor, it is important that a stethoscope is lightweight.
Easy To Use
The final factor to consider when purchasing a stethoscope is how easy it is to use. While this may sound obvious, there are a few things to look for to ensure you can make quick and easy use of this instrument. The earpieces should be smooth with no rough edges.
The tubes that are connected to the earpieces should be long enough to be useful and should not be rough or stiff. You are looking for firm but flexible rubber tubes.
Some stethoscopes feature multiple size bells and/or diaphragms. These features may be useful if your practice involves adult and pediatric patients as the different size chest pieces can be changed or switched around. Earpieces can vary in some models as well.
Depending on your particular setting, you may require ear tips that form a complete acoustic seal in the ear canal for proper listening purposes. The tubing that connects the resonator to the ear tips is also an important piece of the instrument.
They need to be made from sturdy material but also must be flexible and not create sound interference when they may rub together. Some stethoscope designs have tubing that does not come in contact with each other while others have construction materials that do not make a noise.
A final point is to note that some stethoscopes utilize latex free products. If you have patients that may have sensitive allergies, using an instrument with this consideration may be a good idea.
Not all stethoscopes have the same kind of warranty. This is another item worth investigating if you are working in an environment that may not be kind to your listening device. Be sure to read and fully understand the warranty details and ask questions if necessary to gain a complete understanding of what is covered and what is not.
Proper care, regular cleaning and part replacements will ensure that your stethoscope will last a long time and provide you with years of use during your schooling right on into your practice. Buying a good stethoscope for a medical student will ensure that it will last for many years.
The Top 7 Stethoscopes Reviewed
In this section we will take a much closer look at what we consider the Best Stethoscope For Doctors. We will cover the features of each and note any special items that may be of interest.
Also, each review will breakdown precisely what each stethoscope can do so that you can make an informed decision on which one best suits your specific needs. You should have a pretty good idea of what is a stethoscope used for if you didn’t know before hand.
1) 3M Littmann Classic II S. E. Stethoscope, 13 colors
3M Littmann Classic II S.E. Stethoscope is one of the most popular stethoscopes. The name is has long been associated with stethoscopes and the products manufactured under this name are usually what all others are measured against. It is easy to see why, the instrument is loaded with features.
The Littman Classic is considered a top of the line stethoscope by many. This model could be considered as a good stethoscope for hard of hearing.
Diaphragm Can Be Tuned For Optimum Sensitivity
In addition to a dual-sided chest piece which provides high acoustic sensitivity and the compact design provides dependable and solid auscultation. The diaphragm is tunable which means it will respond with as little as a pressure change so that even low and high frequency sounds can be captured.
Anatomical Headset Design: Latex Free
The headset has an anatomical design which means it is angled to meet the ear canal, improving listening ability and adding extra comfort.
The materials used are latex free so even patients suffering from the most sensitive of allergies will not be affected adversely. The rim and diaphragm have what the manufacturer refers to as a ‘non-chill’ system which means patients won’t find it cold to the touch.
Individualize Your Littman
Littman have gone one step further in offering the Classic II S. E. Stethoscope in a range of 13 funky colors.
Starting with the basic black option, you can choose from Raspberry, Pearl Pink, Orange to Peach and even Purple. Why not add a flash of fun to your rounds?
28 Inches Long Plus Access To The 3M Littman Learning Institute
This model features a black theme with black plated chest piece, ear tubes and tube. Measuring 28-inches, this stethoscope is a workhorse.
3M Littmann Learning Institute app
As a value-added bonus, each 3M Littmann product comes with access to the 3M Littmann Learning Institute app. This allows you to practice your skills and track your progress.
The app offers a lot more content that can be unlocked just by entering the unique serial number stamped into the chest piece. This stethoscope is one of the most popular on the market and may be the best Littmann stethoscope for doctors.
2) 3M Littmann Lightweight II S. E. Stethoscope, 28 inch, 2450
The manufacturer calls 3M Littmann Lightweight an entry level stethoscope although it is packed with great features. Featuring a lightweight metal/resin composite chest piece, it produces clear acoustic response and does so reliably.
The tunable diaphragm will capture both high and low frequencies with just a pressure change and is teardrop-shaped making the chest piece easy to insert with blood pressure cuffs for accurate readings.
The headset is anatomically designed so it is angled to meet the ear canal path and there is a non-chill rim and diaphragm. The tubes are 28-inches in length and come in black.
This model also features access to the 3M Littmann Learning Institute app, which is standard on all products made by this manufacturer. With the app you can improve your skills and work on various patient scenarios to assist with your diagnosing talents.
The 3M Lightweight II S. E. Stethoscope comes with a full three year warranty.
3) 3M Littmann Cardiology III Steothscope, Black Plated Chestpiece and Eartubes, 27 inch, 3131BE
Call this model an upgrade if you must but it still has the quality you would expect from 3M Littmann Cardilogy.
For example, this particular model stands out as it contains the one dual-sided chest piece in the 3M Littmann cardiology stethoscope line that produces the results needed in dealing with both adult and pediatric patients.
Two Stethoscopes in One
In other words, this is like two different stethoscopes in one, sort of. The design features not one but two tunable diaphragms that capture low or high frequency sounds with just a simple change in pressure.
Plus, the pediatric side of the chest piece can be converted to an open bell which gives you superior access to low frequency sounds. The conversion is complete when the non-chill bell sleeve is used.
The tube design is a two-in-one utilizing dual lumen which prevents sounds being mistaken when two tubes rub together and the headset is angled to meet ear canal path thanks to an anatomic design. It measures 27-inches in length and both the chest piece and ear tubes are black plated.
As is standard with 3M Littmann products, access is available for the 3M Littmann Learning Institute app. This app allows you to increase your skills with the instrument and tracks your progress.
You are also able to do much more when you unlock all the programming in the online app by using the serial number that is stamped on the chest piece of this stethoscope.
If your practice demands a stethoscope that can be used on all patients, including young ones, this model can do it all which in turn saves you from having to invest in two different units.
The 3M Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope comes with a full five year warranty.
4) 3M Littmann Classic III Stethoscope, Black Edition Chestpiece, 27 inch, 5803
Again, the leader in stethoscope production has done it again with 3M Littmann Classic III. 3M Littmann created this product to be a multi-use instrument and it packs a punch with tons of features. The two-sided chest piece contains tunable diaphragms for use on either adult or pediatric patients.
The single piece tunable diaphragm has a completely smooth surface which makes it easy to clean and it is designed to be easy to attach.
The pediatric side is easy to convert by using the non-chill rim in place of the single piece diaphragm. Plus, the tubing is made from what the manufacturer calls next generation materials which resists staining and is more resistant to alcohol and skin oils which gives it longer life. Also, the small tunable diaphragm allows for several uses including carotid assessment, around dressings, for use with small, thin or even pediatric patients. It can’t be avoided that Littman is undoubtedly one the best stethoscope brands for doctors. While the focus is on the quality stethoscope for doctors it is exactly the same for medical students who demand a good stethoscope.
3M Littmann Learning Institute app
And as an added bonus, all 3M Littmann products come with access to the 3M Littmann Learning Institute app which is an amazing educational tool. What it does is provide you with access to programs that can be used to improve your auscultation skills which actually benefits your patients. The app will help you to develop diagnostic skills, listen to real heart and lung sounds to become familiar with different conditions and you can even track your progress as you test your knowledge.
Amazing learning tool
You can tap into this amazing learning tool by using the serial number that is on the chest piece of your 3M Littmann stethoscope. It will unlock all these features plus several more. The 3M Lttmann Classic has been popular for many and some professionals believe it is best Littmann stethoscope for doctors.
The 3M Classic III Stethoscope comes with a full five year warranty.
5) Omron Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope, Black
This afforadable Omron Sprague stethoscope may not have all the fancy parts and do-dads of the larger brands but this is still a mighty fine instrument.
Online reviews by longtime doctors agree that while the Omron Sprague Rappaport is not the most expensive on the market, this model is relible and does the required job. In fact, some doctors prefer this one over most expensive models simply because it works and it isn’t hard to use. Let’s face it in some work places equipment does have a tendency to wander.
5-in-1 Multipurpose Stethoscope
The Omron Sprague Rappaport is a 5-in-1 multipurpose stethoscope, or quintscope as the manufacturer has dubbed it. The product comes with three different size open bells, two different size diaphragms, a pair of different ear tips and a vinyl storage case. The tubing is latex free so it won’t irritate patients with sensitive allergies and the chest piece is chrome-plated.
The many different pieces make this a flexible instrument that can fit into practically any clinical setting.
6) Dixie EMS Blood Pressure and Sprague Stethoscope Kit
Here’s another entry that falls under the category of affordable, the Dixie EMS Blood Pressure and Sprague Stethoscope Kit.
However, that does not mean there is a lack of quality as that could not be further than the truth on this beautiful instrument.
Blood Pressure Reading Unit
The black Sprague Rappaport style stethoscope is stunning and lightweight. The entire kit comes with a blood pressure unit and nylon cuff which turns this into a multi-functional product. The cuff includes a touch and hold closure, a spring clip and metal gauge with inflation system.
In other words, you have a blood pressure reading unit in your hands and ready to go. The Dixie EMS Kit stethoscope has 22-inch tubing and there are also accessories. In the pouch are two diaphragms, a couple of pairs of ear tips and three different size bells.
There is also a colour matching zippered nylon case. The fact that this is a complete kit makes it well worth a look.
7)ADC ADSCOPE 615 Platinum Professional Clinician Stethoscope, 30.5 inch
The ADC ADSCOPE 615 is a rather high-tech instrument. It is a quality stethoscope but it utilizes something called AFD (Adjustable Frequency Design) technology. What this does is that it has a design that provides the acoustic response of both a bell and a diaphragm but all from a one-sided chest piece.
The chest piece is an oversized ovoid which accomplishes this feat. The sculpted chest piece is made from lightweight zinc alloy and is CNC precision machined. It is also plated with a stunning satin finish which the manufacturer says does two things. This model could be considered as a good stethoscope for hard of hearing.
It enhances the acoustic performance as well as ergonomics. The headset has a reinforced yoke which has been molded into a 22-inch piece of flexible PVC tubing. There are also stainless binaurals that result in silicone AdSoft Plus ear tips. They not only provide for exceptional listening with an acoustic seal, they are comfortable to wear.
The entire package comes complete with two extra pairs of the Adsoft Plus ear tips and to make is easy to keep your stethoscope identifiable, there is a free scope ID tag. This Adscope is considered top of the line stethoscope.
The ADC ADSCOPE also comes with a lifetime warranty and once you register you will be able to access free consumables that the manufacturer has identified as diaphragms, ear tips and more.
In Conclusion – Best Stethoscope For Doctors
What really helps in determining the perfect stethoscope for your medical work are three key elements. First, you must consider the kind of patients you will be seeing. This is by far the most important clue to factor into your stethoscope choice. Second, you have to take a look at where you will be working as the environment will play a role in your stethoscope choice.
If you are about to commence your studies you are short changing yourself if do not demand a good stethoscope for medical students.
If you are in a small practice with a lot of on call work, you may require an instrument that can put up with a bit more punishment than if you were working in an office setting with several other doctors. The third item to keep in mind is your personal budget. Oddly enough, you can spend too much on something that you don’t need or can’t afford. Also consider that in some workplaces stethoscopes seem to go missing with regularity.
Once you determine these things, making your choice of stethoscope will be far easier than you think, you should certainly know what a stethoscope used for considered the best stethoscope for nurses student and doctors.