Used by EMTs, nurses, and other medical professionals, stethoscopes are one of the most important tools in healthcare. Most providers will have several different stethoscopes throughout their careers, and many EMTs and nurses like to upgrade their equipment to keep up with the latest technology and trends.
With so many styles available in several different price ranges, we created the best stethoscope list.
Every EMT or nurse can find something to fit his or her preferences. However, shopping around online for the best stethoscope can be challenging since customers aren’t able to try out the stethoscope before purchasing.
With this in mind, we’ve created this helpful guide specifically for EMTs and nurses. Having tested numerous stethoscopes, we’ve created a list of our top picks (organized by budget) and will explain all the important features of each to help you find the ideal fit for your unique situation.
EMTs and nurses may have different stethoscope needs. Since EMTs frequently work in varied and loud environments, they may benefit from stethoscopes that are known for durability, clarity, and volume.
Nurses and nurse practitioners commonly perform advanced cardiovascular exams on patients, and many wear their stethoscopes around the neck for multiple hours each day. Thus, they would likely prefer stethoscopes that are lighter in weight and that can readily detect nuanced sounds.
Our best stethoscope under $25, this stethoscope is notable as one of the lightest on the market, weighing only 100 grams. The tubing length is 31 inches. Its ergonomic design would make it the best stethoscope for nurses who wear their stethoscopes all day.
It has both a diaphragm and a bell, allowing for precise auscultation of both high and low frequency sounds.
An extra diaphragm and an additional pair of silicone ear-tips are both included with purchase, and the product includes a five-year warranty. 17 tubing colors are available so that clinicians can match this device to their personal style.
Rated top of our list for stethoscopes under $50, this Littmann stethoscope would be a top contender as the best stethoscope for nurses and the best stethoscope for EMT.
Although it is considered an entry-level stethoscope, it has a number of features that appeal to both of these users. At 118 grams, it is the lightest stethoscope in the Littmann brand.
The tubing length is 28 inches. Uniquely, the chestpiece is shaped like a teardrop so that it fits more easily under blood pressure cuffs than other models. Rather than a separate diaphragm and bell, this device has what is known as a tuneable diaphragm. It allows clinicians to hear both high and low frequency sounds just by adjusting the pressure on the chestpiece.
Light pressure is used for hearing low sounds, and firmer pressure can elicit higher frequency sounds. Manufactured in the United States, this stethoscope comes with a two-year warranty and is available in seven colors.
User-friendly tuneable diaphragm
Best stethoscope for easily measuring blood pressure
Ranked at the top of our list in the under-$100 price range, the 3M Littmann Monitoring Stethoscope is very sensitive and can be used for complex physical assessments on children and adults. It is particularly useful in non-critical settings such as primary care; thus, it would be a best stethoscope for nurses who work in this environment.
With a tubing length of 27 inches, it is one of the shorter stethoscopes on the market. This model features a tunable diaphragm and has separate pediatric and adult sides for the chestpiece. If needed, the pediatric side of the chestpiece can be converted to a bell through the use of a non-chill rim. This device is phthalate and latex free. A five-year warranty is provided, and customers can select from a choice of more than 20 tubing and chestpiece color combinations.
For the discerning medical professional, this stethoscope is top-rated in the $100+ price category. At 167 to 177 grams, it is the heaviest stethoscope we tested.
Tubing length options include both 22 and 27 inches. As a diagnostic stethoscope, it is especially suited to advanced applications and excels in varied environments including the emergency department, ICU, and cardiology practices. The tuneable diaphragm of this stethoscope is designed to enable clinicians to hear murmurs, aortic stenosis, and faint cardiac abnormalities more easily.
High- frequency sounds are heard more loudly and with greater clarity through this model than the Littmann III. With its advanced sensitivity, it would be both a best stethoscope for EMT fieldwork and a best stethoscope for nurses, particularly nurse practitioners and those in cardiac ICU. It comes in nine tubing colors and seven chest-piece choices including a rainbow-finish chest-piece option. A seven-year warranty, the longest of any in our list, is included with purchase.
It is practically the symbol of doctors and medical assistants. Most of us know the basics: you put the headphones in your ears, the other end in a sick person, and listen to the heartbeat. But stethoscopes can do much more than that for example: The following are some facts about this medical device, followed by a more complete list of its uses. If you are new to the field of medicine, being comfortable with your stethoscope and knowing how to use it properly will make you a better student and clinical medicine. What can you do with it? If you learn the following, you will use yours over 90% better in clinical use.
Measure blood pressure
It is probably the most common use, but it is often done badly. The placement of the blood pressure cuff is critical. In addition, many students are taught that the systolic blood pressure (for example, 120/80 mm / Hg) is normal and is the point at which they can no longer hear the stroke of the brachial artery. More accurately, Diastolic blood pressure is the number in which the volume of the blow drops drastically. (This is often 4-10 mm Hg higher than when the sound disappears completely.
Evaluation of lung sounds:
It allows you to identify the frequency, rhythm and quality of breathing, obstructions of the respiratory tract, as well as smears that indicate inflammation of the pleura. Do not forget to start over the clavicle, since the lung tissue stretches so high. Also, when listening to the back, have the patient lean slightly forward to expose the triangle of auscultation. Remember that for the sounds of the lungs (according to the Bates Bible, “) we hear in six paired areas in the chest, and seven paired areas in the back. Remember this with the mnemonic “6AM – 7PM,” (6 previous pairs, and 7 subsequent pairs). Always listen to the left and right sides at the same level before going down to the next level – this way you will get a side by side comparison.
Stethoscope Price Clicks
Evaluation of cardiac sounds.
We listen to the frequency, the type and the rhythm of the sound of the heart, as well as any sound that should not be there (adventitious sounds), like galops, murmurs or clicks. All hearts sound the same at the beginning. But after listening to many hearts, eventually the sounds seem to jump towards you. For heart sounds, we hear the four main areas: left and right of the sternum at the level of the 2nd rib, to the left of the sternum on the 4th rib and on the left line of the nipple at the level of the 5th rib. Remember this with the mnemonic “2-2-4-5”. The names of the valves you are hearing in these places are: aortic (2 right), (2 left) pulmonary, (4) tricuspid, (5) mitral. Remember these with the mnemonic “All patients take Meds.
Evaluation of intestinal sounds.
This is easy to do, and important if there may be a bowel obstruction or paralytic ileus. Bubbling noises are called borborygms.
A murmur (pronounced “broo’-ee,”) is an anomalous sound of blood circulation through an artery that generally indicates that the artery has narrowed, causing a turbulent flow, as in arteriosclerosis. The outbreaks are abnormal – if the patient is healthy and “normal”, he should not hear any bruits. Traces can be detected in the neck (carotids), the navel (abdominal aortic kidneys), the kidneys, the femoral, iliac and temporal arteries. The first real sound you should hear is an umbilical, just above a patient’s belly button, and when you hear it you know immediately that the patient has an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
Measurement of the extension of the liver.
Usually, this is done with percussion (hitting the belly), but another neat way is to place the stethoscope under the right nipple, the other index finger just above the waist line in line with the nipple, and gently scratch the skin towards the chest Piece of the stethoscope. When you are on the liver, the sound will become more boring. Marking the location where it begins and ends provides a decent measurement of the size of the liver at that location. About 10 cm is normal in the nipple line.
Finally, the stethoscope makes a good hearing aid for patients with hearing problems. Put the ears in the patient’s ears and talk on the chest piece. Accessible in the ER! (Emergency)
What are the different types of stethoscopes?
For any average person, all medical instruments are the same. But for the medical professional, who knows the instruments and have good taste of the stethoscope they come in different types. Models such as the Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope and the Littmann Classic II SE, are very popular in the market today. This is because these specific brands have excellent characteristics. Doctors who use the right kind of stethoscope for their jobs have an easier time at work. Yes, there are different types of stethoscopes and these are the following:
These are the most popular types on the market today. In fact, this is the original stethoscope model. The sound is transferred from the diaphragm through a series of hollow tubes that run through the headphones. The air inside the hollow tubes serves as a means of transmission. There are two sides of the chest piece of an acoustic model. The diaphragm is responsible for transmitting high frequency sounds. The bell, on the other hand, is responsible for detecting low frequency sounds. This is the reason why we regularly see medical professionals who try to swap between a bell and a diaphragm when they see a patient’s diagnosis.
Also known as a steno-phone, this type uses electronic transducers to convert body sounds to electronic signals that can be amplified. This is a very expensive version of a stethoscope. It is not used mainly by doctors because it is very uncomfortable to use. Stenophones are uses for special applications such as diagnosis and remote monitoring. Stereophones can be given a wireless connection so that doctors can control the vital signs of a patient remotely.
This is a special electronic variety that can be connected to a recording device. Some doctors use this to consult a variety of medical cases with other doctors. If they meet a patient who shows bodily sounds they are not familiar with, they can record the sounds and have other doctors listen to them. Consultations can be made quickly and efficiently thanks to the recording of stethoscopes.
This type is also called fetoscope. Generally speaking, it looks like a trumpet and doctors place this in the belly of pregnant mothers in order to listen to the baby inside the mother’s uterus. This specific type was invented by the French Obstetrician, Adolphe Pinard . Of course, there is a modern version of the fetoscope where the basic model is intertwined with some characteristics of a stenophone.
Considerations to choose the best stethoscope
Choosing the right stethoscope for you should go beyond the brand names, price and rumors. To find the best stethoscope for you, it would be wise to consider all the components that make up a stethoscope.
Optimally, the headset should be the same high density material as the chest piece and angled at 15 ° as a standard. Just as you want the highest sealing and amplification acoustics in your chest piece, you want metals of the same quality to transmit sounds to your headset. Be careful with the materials that are used for both headphones and chest, since the description of your stethoscope can only include the material of the chest piece.
Bell (chest piece)
Look for a complete construction in high density materials, such as stainless steel or titanium, for its performance and durability properties. In addition, a piece that not only has a polished finish by hand on the outside, but also on the inside is ideal. On the contrary A pectoral that is unfinished internally has perforations and can absorb sound which is not recommended. A hand-polished and soft bell offers a much clearer and clearer sound.
Look for a high quality and durable diaphragm. It would be advantageous to have an extra one in case of a puncture or other mishaps.
You should select a stethoscope that has thick, durable tubes to isolate the acoustics of external noise and isolate the sound. Thin tubes are prone to break can cause loss of sound. It must be ensured that the corrugated ends of the ear tubes fit firmly with the olives for safety. Some tubes will be longer than others to maintain a more secure distance between the patient and the doctor.
Headphones may seem like a late idea when you select a stethoscope, but in reality they are very crucial in providing accurate readings. These should be placed well on the ears they should fit securely and comfortably inside the ear, and are preferably offered in various sizes for convenience. Not only should the headphones be comfortable, they should create a seal inside your ear to prevent external sound from seeping through. For headphones, the size and kind of material that are made matter a lot.
Even the stem in a stethoscope makes a difference! For the most premium sound experience, you would want a stem that is built in the same quality metal as your hood. Do not overlook this small detail, a large stem is precisely designed and needs to “fit” in place to reduce sound leakage.
A stethoscope is a good investment in your medical career, so it is important to get one that meets all your needs. While many seem the same to people outside the field of medicine, there are always small but significant differences that make one of them the best stethoscope for you. You can not put a price on good health, so it is better to invest in a reliable stethoscope like the 3M Littmann Monitoring Stethoscope. This device offers much more than other models, the additional cost is worth every penny. One of the most important things for cardiologists is the level of detail they can get from the patient’s heart and chest beats. Even general practitioners should be able to accurately hear the heart rate and respiratory flow of their patients. For this reason the stethoscope remains one of the oldest, simplest and most reliable tools on the doctor’s side. If you’re a nurse, find our best scrubs here.
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