Stethoscopes are commonly associated with doctors and healthcare, did you know there are different types?
Different types of stethoscopes have different uses to provide specialized care.
This article will detail a few different types of stethoscopes and explain their uses.
If someone asks you to imagine a stethoscope, you would probably conjure up an image of an acoustic stethoscope. Acoustic stethoscopes are the most common and recognizable type of stethoscope. The Littmann Classic iii is a popular example of an acoustic stethoscope.
This type of stethoscope works by transferring sound from the chest piece, into hollow tubes and finally to the listener’s ears.
Acoustic stethoscopes have the classic diaphragm and bell design. The diaphragm is the flat side of the chest piece, made of metal. The bell is on the opposite and sticks out of the stethoscope.
The bell and diaphragm have different uses. The bell is for picking up low-frequency noises such as heart murmurs. The diaphragm is for finding higher pitch sounds, such as normal breaths.
Although these are the most common type of stethoscope, they are not the most powerful. Acoustic stethoscopes can be difficult to use in loud environments or when searching for low-frequency noises.
Acoustic stethoscopes are the best type of stethoscope for medical students or nurses. Other types of stethoscopes are for specialized use.
The fetus is important enough to get its own type of stethoscopes. Fetal Stethoscopes serve only one purpose; to monitor developing babies. Fetal Stethoscopes can also be called FetoScopes and old ones are known as Pinard Horns.
Early versions of fetal stethoscopes (or Pinard Horns) have a strong resemblance to the first stethoscopes of the 1800s. Wood was usually the choice material for Pinard Horns.
Modern fetal telescopes have binurals, a headset, and earpiece added to the tube design.
Electronic stethoscopes work just like regular stethoscopes but use electricity to amplify the sounds picked up by the stethoscope.
These stethoscopes are not practical for daily use. They are heavier; need batteries and cost significantly more than traditional stethoscopes.
Also, when used in a public area, electronic stethoscopes are vulnerable to picking up interference from other devices.
Electronic stethoscopes are suited for specific tasks in certain areas of healthcare. All electronic stethoscopes are extremely versatile.
You can even link certain electronic stethoscopes to recording devices. This allows for detailed study of the noises made by the patient by multiple doctors at different times.
When recording sounds from stethoscopes, doctors can also wear headphones which lets them be even more thorough in their examination.
Doppler stethoscopes are another type of electronic stethoscope. This stethoscope measures the Doppler effect of ultrasound waves. Our organs reflect doppler waves and this stethoscope allows us to monitor them.
This type of stethoscope is best used to study moving objects in the body, such as the heart and other organs.
Doppler stethoscopes are commonly used to monitor babies in the womb with weak heartbeats.
3D printed stethoscopes are a new variation on this traditional device. Dr. Tarek Loubani invented the 3D stethoscope in 2015. They have made a significant impact on the availability of stethoscopes in war zones and places where its hard to bring in supplies.
The most impressive thing about 3D printed stethoscopes is its open source availability. Anyone with access to a 3D printer can create a fully functional stethoscope in mass quantities, without sacrificing quality. This could potentially usher in a new era of different types of stethoscopes.