Littmann stethoscopes have a reputation for having the highest quality on the market.
Littmann stethoscopes have always been the gold standard for quality in a stethoscope. This comes from Littman being so integral to the evolution of the stethoscope.
It has gotten to the point where new medical students and even some experienced professionals, feel Littmann is the standard and only option.
This article aims to address the question if Littmann stethoscopes are worth your money. This is by no means a condemnation of the product, Littman’s quality speaks for itself.
However, there are many other options available to you that might seem more appealing, especially if you’re on a budget. The prestige of the company shouldn’t influence your decision.
What are you comparing it to?
The first factor in comparing Littmann stethoscopes is to narrow down a few options. Comparing different types of stethoscopes from Littmann will yield small differences and minor advantages to make your decision from.
If you’re comparing Littmann to a different company then you have reputation and quality to consider. Factors like return policy, warranty and what people have to say about both brands will come into play.
Practice with different stethoscopes before investing
Making a diagnosis doesn’t start and end with the type of stethoscope used. Using a stethoscope is also about your personal skill level in identifying different sounds.
No matter how much you have studied, if you lack practical experience, there’s a chance you won’t be able to tell the difference between a Littmann and other types of stethoscopes.
If you have the opportunity, use as many stethoscopes as you possibly can. Everyone’s hearing is different, so it’s impossible to make a universal declaration on the best stethoscope.
Brands like ADC, Welch Allyn, and Adscope all produce reliable stethoscopes. You don’t have to purchase top of the line quality right out of the gate, especially if you’re a medical student.
What will you be using it for?
This is a question that will show you almost immediately how much you need to spend on a stethoscope. If you’re looking for a stethoscope as a medical student, chances are you won’t need something expensive like the Littmann Classic iii.
If you are going to be working in an emergency department, keep in mind your work environment is hectic, and stethoscopes get misplaced all the time. On the other hand, an environment like this is almost always loud so having a higher quality stethoscope will require less strain to hear what’s going on.
A different situation could be looking for a stethoscope for your specialization. If you are going to be specializing in cardiology for example, then your stethoscope becomes critical.
Cardiologists rely on their stethoscopes more than an average doctor. There are even Littmann stethoscopes made specifically for cardiology. In this case, you may find it worth it to buy a top quality stethoscope as you grow your experience.
If you know that you’ll need your stethoscope everyday at your job, then it’s worth paying extra for quality. On the other side, if you’re unsure how much you’ll be using it, you can wait or buy an inexpensive model for practice.
Stethoscopes are just a tool
The bottom line is a stethoscope is an instrument to make your job easier, not do it for you. Learning to use a stethoscope properly takes years of learning theory and actual physical practice.
You don’t need to buy your own stethoscope right off the bat as a student. As much as you can, practice with other stethoscopes and see which ones work best for you. If you really feel the need, save your money and buy an inexpensive stethoscope.
A stethoscope like the Littmann Classic iii has its place, but shouldn’t be considered the standard for first-time stethoscope buyers.
Bottom line – If money is no object and you want a high-quality stethoscope – go for the Littmann brand.
If you want to operate within a budget, follow the tips in this article for finding a stethoscope. Narrow down a few potential stethoscopes and ask yourself where and how you’ll be using it. Remember that a stethoscope is a tool and you need to sharpen your skills before deciding you need a higher quality one.
Littmann stethoscopes will give you your money’s worth in quality, but they are not the only option available.