A stethoscope is a medical device that is used to listen to the sounds inside the human body including those of the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, and blood flow inside the veins and arteries. It is also more commonly used in combination with a sphygmomanometer to monitor the blood pressure of a patient.
Together with the thermometer, a stethoscope is considered as one of the two most important medical tools that every family should have inside their homes. It may be used to monitor the health condition of the patient, as advised by a physician, without having the need to visit the hospital every so often. It is also a useful tool to have on hand if there is someone with asthma too.
Using the stethoscope may be a little tricky for people who are new to this medical instrument. Fortunately, there are local seminars and several online lessons offered by medical practitioners to help people understand the basics of stethoscope use. Read more useful information on this article about stethoscopes.
To start with, here are the 5 steps to help you choose the best stethoscope for home use.
Get a stethoscope with wide and long tubing
Most stethoscopes sold in medical supply stores have tubing lengths of 22 to 27 inches. Stethoscopes with longer tube lengths hang more comfortably around the neck and are also more convenient to use. You can easily check the condition of a person without having the need to bend over or come in contact and risk yourself of catching the disease. Wide tubes with double holes are also more efficient in terms of transmitting high-quality sound free of background noises.
Check the materials of the stethoscope
Most stethoscopes are made with durable aluminum and flexible rubber tubing. These materials are generally safe and non-staining. Be careful though when choosing latex rubber tubes as there is a considerable number of people who are allergic to this type of material. You may choose a more compatible and more durable silicone rubber instead.
Choose between acoustic and electronic stethoscopes
There are two major types of stethoscopes for home use: the acoustic and the electronic stethoscope. Basic acoustic stethoscopes are usually adequate for most medical practitioners to monitor heart and lung sounds. Electronic stethoscopes come at a price but offer additional features including amplification of faint sounds, noise reduction, basic analysis, and recording of data.
Find the right chest piece.
The chest piece is the part of the stethoscope that comes in contact with the body to pick up sounds. There are the basic single-headed chest piece and a double-headed chest piece with two diaphragms that can be used interchangeably for low and high-frequency sounds. A 25 mm size is best to use for small children while a 35 mm is appropriate for adults. There are also non-chill rims to help patients feel more comfortable.
Find the right earpiece.
The person operating the stethoscope should feel comfortable as well. Choose a stethoscope with detachable earpieces and adjustable angles. This feature helps the user calibrate the stethoscope to his or her own preferences. When using a stethoscope for extended periods, a pair of soft and rounded earpieces are recommended.
My older son had a ton of breathing problems when he was a baby and I should have invested in a stethoscope. I always had to rely on putting my ear against his chest to determine if he was wheezing. However, this wasn’t an effective way to listen to his lungs. Now that he is older, he can tell me if he feels like he is wheezing but as a mom, I think it would be so much easier to confirm wheezing with a stethoscope. It would save us a trip to the emergency room or urgent care only to determine that everything is normal. Plus, it would come in handy for other health concerns as well.