Know Your Stethoscope Types

The one thing that always comes to mind when you picture a doctor is a person in a white coat, with a stethoscope around their neck. That device which they carry is a rudimentary item that society associates with being a doctor, even if they may not necessarily use it all the time. Apart from the basic stethoscope many people are used to seeing their doctors utilise, there are many other types as well.

ACOUSTICThese stethoscopes are universal and are the most frequently used. Sound is carried from the bell or diaphragm that is kept on the chest or back of the patient, through the hollow tubing, into the ears of the doctor. The end of the stethoscope has two sides to it; the bell and the diaphragm. The former is useful for hearing sounds that are low in frequency. For example, like heart murmurs. While the latter allows the doctor to listen to sounds which are higher in pitch such as your breathing. However, these types of stethoscopes are not the most efficient as they have been proven to be difficult to use in surroundings with loud noises.

ELECTRONICAn electronic stethoscope operates just like an acoustic one does, with the added feature of it begun able to detect amplified sounds through the use of electricity. They require batteries to work and are more expensive than normal stethoscopes. They are not ideal for frequent usage but are utilised for specific aspects of healthcare. There is however, a possibility of the stethoscopes picking up external electronic signals which interfere with the sound as well. Littmann classic iii stethoscopes offer a multitude of stethoscopes to choose from, so when buying one, you can have your pick.

FOETAL Foetal stethoscopes are used solely in order to listen to the heartbeat and other sounds of a foetus. They are also called Fetoscopes and follow the makings of an acoustic stethoscope. They are shaped in a way which allows the doctor to place the device on a pregnant mother’s stomach and listen to the foetus. Foetal stethoscopes are shaped like trumpets.

DOPPLERThese are a type of electronic stethoscope that measure the ultrasound waves moving through our body or better known as ‘the Doppler effect of ultrasound waves.” Changes in frequency all you to recognise motion and therefore, these stethoscopes are particularly useful in observation of moving objects such as a heart that beats. While there are other types of stethoscopes, used for various reasons, the above covers a basic summary of the main types. Make sure the stethoscope you purchase pertains to what you wish to gain from it.