The stethoscope is identifying equipment for a doctor. Whenever you have seen a doctor whether in real life or on TV, you have seen him with a stethoscope. In fact, even in toys, the basic equipment of doctors includes foremost a stethoscope. If a person is wearing a white coat and a stethoscope then you label him to be a doctor without thinking twice.
Do all doctors use the same stethoscope?
Do you like me think that all stethoscopes are similar? I used to think that as they all look the same, they must be the same. But you will be surprised as well that actually they are not only different but individually preferred by doctors. Kind of reminds you of Harry Potter, where each wand was preferred by an individual magician. Similarly, each doctor selects or prefers using a stethoscope by its acoustic ability, and comfort, and ease of use.
Besides, stethoscopes are categorised broadly as:
- General or classic
All of these are designed according to the purpose they fulfil and the sensitivity of their tasks. For example, the cardiology stethoscope is more sensitive in acoustic than the classic one. Their pricing is also dependent on their type.
What features define a good stethoscope?
Although choosing a stethoscope is like choosing a glove, one cannot fit all. However, since it is very sensitive equipment and a patient’s diagnosis or life can depend on it, so what you should look for in a good stethoscope generally is similar.
You do need specific points to identify them further but the general overall features regarding the performance and reliability are the same. Here are a few features you should look for; rather make sure of it in any and every stethoscope you choose:
The stethoscope is an instrument used to listen to the sound, be it pulse or fluid or abdominal gas etc. The purpose is to listen. So this is the most important feature of any stethoscope. How well the sound of a pulse is handled in the stethoscope and can be heard at the other end is the whole purpose of making a stethoscope.
But selecting the best stethoscope based on its acoustic is not the same for everyone. Do we all have the same hearing ability? Well…. Your answer will be NO of course! So how can we need the same kind of sound sensitive device?
For doctors who have good hearing and the purpose they need to buy the stethoscope for is general, then a classic one can do their work. But a person who has hearing problems will need a hearing impaired one. Similarly, a cardiologist will need a different one and a nurse or a paediatric will need a different one.
2. Materials used
The material used to make a stethoscope should be durable and long lasting. In addition to that the material used, which is usually rubber and aluminium, should be of top quality so it doesn’t affect the weight and acoustic of the stethoscope.
3. Comfort and ease of use
A doctor or nurse will be using a stethoscope most of the time while on duty, when not using it, it will be hanging around their neck. So for their comfort, it should be lightweight. It should also be very easy to use and handle. The earpieces should not be rough and the rubber tubes should not be short and stiff. The purpose of the stethoscope is to enhance their performance, not hinder it.
What to consider while choosing a stethoscope?
Well after all the discussion and details above, I can only summarise that the bottom line is that choosing the right stethoscope depends on the following:
- What kinds of patients you will be dealing with.
- What type of environment you will be working in.
- What amount of money do you have in your budget.
Like all important equipment, you need to protect your stethoscope and keep it clean so it can be used for a longer period and its efficiency doesn’t get affected. Consider it an investment and look after it because getting a good stethoscope can cost you a bit.
You can also personalise it by labelling or getting your initials carved on it. You can do the same for a doctor or nurse and give it to them as a gift!