Your Complete Guide to Different Types of Stethoscopes

By BestRatedDocs    |     Last Updated: 29 April, 2018

Most of us know that a stethoscope is an important symbol of medical practice. It is not a piece of equipment but is one of that medical equipment that stays with your throughout your medical profession. With a good stethoscope, you can perform most of the tasks efficiently. To ensure that every medical field is catered in the best way, there are different types of stethoscopes available.

If you are a medical professional and don’t have enough time to search through different websites to research about each and every type, then we’ve done all the work for you!

Here we discuss all the types of stethoscopes that are available for use.

1. Infant

The early year’s stethoscopes were just little more than ear tubes. The first stethoscope was invented by Rene Laennec in 1816 at the Necker Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris, France. Though there were few modifications in the design, the present design is because of Dr. David Littmann from Harvard University. Dr. David Littmann made the stethoscope lighter and more efficient to deliver better acoustics.

Don’t consider the infant stethoscope to be similar to a pediatric stethoscope. It is because this stethoscope is exclusively designed for infants and small patients. It is because the diameter of this stethoscope is just 2.7 cm, which is designed to precisely monitor the small patients.

With a small size Chestpiece, it is possible to gain accurate auscultation for smaller patients. Additionally, the stethoscope incorporates a non-chill rim as well as the latex-free body. This is to ensure that small infants do not feel any shock while being diagnosed and even does not experience an allergic reaction.

2. Neonatal

This is the smallest size of stethoscope designed for newborn patients. It hosts the smallest diameter of 2cm that allows for correct auscultations without generating excess ambient noise.

No matter which brand you buy, the neonatal stethoscope hosts a non-chill rim and latex free construction. Though you can use a normal size stethoscope for small patients, then it may fail to deliver you precise results. At the same time, it can cause the newborns to shock.

With small size Chestpiece, the diagnosis is more accurate. Also, you don’t have to adjust the stethoscope while conducting diagnose.

3. Pediatric

These stethoscopes look almost similar to adult stethoscopes. However, there is one prominent difference in the size of Chestpiece.

For small patients, it must be difficult to position the chest piece. It is because the chest size of children is smaller as compared to the adults. Just like neonatal and infant stethoscopes, using pediatric stethoscopes is must to properly diagnose the small patients. The smaller size allows correct placement.

The other benefit of such stethoscopes is their color. It would not be an important factor for medical experts, but beautiful design and the soothing color is pleasing to the small patients. We have researched and listed best stethoscopes for pediatricians here.

4. Cardiology

This type of stethoscope looks similar to a standard stethoscope. But there is a major difference, which is that cardiology version delivers more accurate acoustic quality. It enables you to hear the low and high frequency sounds more clearly.

It allows you to clearly hear even the faint sounds such as rubs and clicks. Hence, you would never miss any murmur with such stethoscopes. Not just the sound quality, but the earpieces are more comfortable and thicker. They are designed to block the ambient noise completely so that there is no interference with the auscultation. With thicker tubing, it tends to be smaller between the earpieces and diaphragm to maintain optimum sound quality. We have researched and listed top 10 stethoscopes for cardiologists here.

5. Fetal

In the 19th century, there was an original stethoscope created. This was the ear horn known as Pinard horn that amplified fetal heartbeat for just one year. The present binaural fetoscope is a modern combination of pinned horn and stethoscope. It holds a unique construction.

This stethoscope holds a special bell is placed against the pregnant woman’s belly to transfer sound to earpieces. Another feature is its forehead piece that enables the doctor to position bell and transfer sound. The heartbeat sound of the fetal is different than the fetal Doppler that uses amplification.

6. Veterinary

Most of the vets use same stethoscopes that a doctor uses. But animals, in particular, have different challenges and needs. For example, the fur of animals can make noise and interfere with auscultation.

Hence, the specially prepare veterinary stethoscopes are available that are designed with a long tubing of 32 inches. This gives you perfect distance from animals and offers a comfortable diagnosis for smaller and bigger animals.

Most of these stethoscopes have a tunable diaphragm. This enables you to adjust the switch to makes its transition easy between low and high sounds. When working with animal patients, you need a stethoscope that can offer quick transitions. Hence, you need a specialized stethoscope for veterinary experts.

7. Electronic Stethoscope

There are a sound and volume problem in acoustic stethoscopes. This problem is solved with an electronic stethoscope. Such stethoscopes electronically amplify the sound waves received from the chest piece and convert them into electronic waves transferred through specially designed circuitry.

With the better processing of sound, you are able to avail better listening. Moreover, electronic stethoscopes have different methods to convert the sound. The best elementary use is placing a microphone on the chest piece that obstructs the ambient noise completely.

Electronic stethoscopes are of two types – Amplifying and Digitizing.

8. Digitizing Stethoscope

Also called as digital stethoscopes, they offer a chance to switch between digital and analogue amplification. Switching between distinct modes allow you to pick the proper distinct kinds of diagnostic sounds. Most of the people allow you to analyze and visually record and some are able to link such recordings wirelessly to a computer or smart device.

These stethoscopes have a rechargeable battery, which makes them easy to use and long-lasting.

9. Amplifying Stethoscope

If you are suffering from hearing loss issue, then you must opt for amplified stethoscopes. Such stethoscopes convert the auscultation’s acoustic sound into electronic sound waves that are amplified and transferred to the earpiece.

Since the sound is electronic, you can perform all types of beneficial things, like reduce ambient noise interference. At the same time, it enables to wear headphone so that you can listen to all sound conveniently without any interruption. Other prominent features of this stethoscope include an electronic display to read the sound waves and ability to switch between diaphragm and bell for low high and low sounds.

10. Acoustic

These are the most common kinds of stethoscopes. It works by transferring sound from the chest piece to the hollow tubes and eventually to ears of a doctor. It comprises a bell and diaphragm.

Though such stethoscopes are the most common, still they are not the most powerful one. They can be difficult to use in noisy environments or for low-frequency sounds. These are best stethoscopes for nurses and medical students.

11. Doppler Stethoscopes

These are another kind of electronic stethoscope that measures the Doppler effect of the ultrasound waves. Our organs have Doppler waves, and this stethoscope allows to monitor them.

It is best to monitor moving objects in the body, like heart and other organs. They are commonly used to monitor heartbeats and babies in the womb.

12. Single-headed Stethoscope

This is a straightforward stethoscope that comes with an adjustable diaphragm. It makes it convenient to check the heart, lungs as well as bowel movements. The single-headed stethoscope is mainly preferred by cardiologists who need to deal with numerous cardiovascular diseases.

13. Dual – Head Stethoscope

If you are busy in noisy environments, then a dual head stethoscope is an ideal choice. They are more versatile and deliver better results as compared to the single-headed stethoscope. Even the stethoscope is ideal to be used for patients of all ages.

Some models of such stethoscopes are equipped with a bell and two distinct sizes of a diaphragm. Some of the doctors prefer stethoscopes with a big diaphragm that makes it possible to listen to sound waves of various organs.

So, you see there are numerous types of stethoscopes available on the market. No matter what your speciality is, or what type of patients you diagnose, there is an appropriate stethoscope available for you!

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