STETHOSCOPE CHOICES?

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~When it comes to Stethoscopes, the buyer has so many options. We want to help you decide what type of Stethoscope may best suit you. Our customers are varied within the Medical Field which includes Nurses, Paramedics, Medical Students, GP's, First Aid Remote Posts, Mines, Farms, First Aid Teams, Medical Centres and Cardiologists. Whilst a Medical Student is primarily starting out and learning what a Stethoscope does, they may be quite satisfied with a basic model either single head or dual head and they may want a choice of coloured types. Sometimes they also have to consider their budget being a student. Generally you can start of with a budget model and later upgrade to a more elaborate version. A GP on the other hand will want a stethoscope with the ability to listen to the Heart, Lungs, vascular flow and other organs, so will choose another type such as the Premium Type. The Cardiologist Specialist usually chooses a premium type although most Cardiologists we know have so much practice listening through stethoscopes that they really just choose what works for them. The main criterior here is "How is your hearing?". If you are hard of hearing then a more elaborate stethoscope is more suitable as the basic models although excellent, are made of PVC tubing with lightweight aluminium heads which are not as sensitive as the heavier Stainless Steel type. The bell (one side of the head) of the instrument is generally used for listening to low-pitched sounds. The diaphragm (the other side of the head) of the instrument is used to listen to different areas of the heart. Stethoscopes vary in their design and material. Most are made of Y-shaped rubber or PVC tubing at very reasonable pricing. This shape allows sounds to enter the device at one end, travel up the tubes and through to the ear pieces. Many stethoscopes have a two-sided sound-detecting device or head that listeners can reverse, depending on whether they need to hear high or low frequencies. Some newer models have only one pressure-sensitive head. The chest piece of a stethoscope is put on the body to pick up sounds from within. The larger the area of the chest piece that comes in contact with the body surface is, the better sounds are picked up. This is because the sound-conveying channel is wider when the chest piece is larger. However, if the chest piece is too large, it looses contact with the body surface, because the latter is curved outward in configuration. In this case, sounds are not only picked up inefficiently but sounds are actually lost through the openings between the chest piece and the body surface. Get a chest piece with a size of between 45-50mm and you should be OK! All our Stethoscopes come within this size range. It is our recommendation to use stainless steel, zinc alloy and titanium for the chest piece of stethoscopes if you want a true professional series stethoscope with remarkable acoustic qualities. These are recommended for skilled practitioners. Aluminum and Plastics are used for the basic types because manufacturing cost is taken into consideration when choosing materials for the stethoscope and these savings can be passed onto you the customer. These stethoscopes work well, have reasonable acoustic qualities and should not be discarded because they are cheaper however, do not think that you will get maximum acoustic performance. The binaural tubing is also important in terms of efficiency of the stethoscope. The larger the internal diameter is and the shorter and the thicker the wall is, the better the efficiency of a stethoscope. There are three different tubings. The first one is a single tubing. The second is dual tubing (Rappaport type), the third is dual tubing forming one tubing in outlook. In theory, the dual tubing system is more efficient than the single tubing system, but in practice, we have found the two systems are much the same in efficiency, at least concerning the conventional stethoscopes. The rappaport dual tubing has reduced in price over the last few years so it becomes a favourite with buyers. We recommend the dual tubing formed into one for the serious Stethoscope user without the need to upgrade to Cardiology series at a price within everyone's reach. (Single Tube Rappaport Stethoscope). How to use Instructions Inspect the stethoscope to make sure the tubing is free of cracks or kinks. Wipe the earpieces with an alcohol swab. Place the earpieces in your ears so they fit snugly. The curve in each earpiece should follow parallel to the curve of your outer ear, not perpendicular to it. Hold the chest-piece end of the stethoscope firmly in your hand. If you will be placing the stethoscope directly on the skin, you may rub the chest piece gently to warm it first. To listen to the heart, place the chest piece against the skin about 2 inches above and a half inch to the right of the left nipple. Hold firmly between your index and middle fingers. Press firmly but lightly. Make sure the tubing on the stethoscope hangs freely and that it's not rubbing against clothing or skin. Listen for a "lub dub" sound. If the heartbeat is not clear, move the stethoscope in the same general area by picking it up and placing it in half-inch increments. Do not drag the stethoscope over the skin. If no stethoscope is available, place your ear against the person's chest to hear the heartbeat. If you listen intently, you should be able to discern the sound the heart is making, although it is possible to be confused by the pulse which you can also feel on your ear. You will not be able to hear heart abnormalities without a stethoscope. General Care Your stethoscope is designed to provide years of reliable service. Routinely cleaning your stethoscope will ensure optimal acoustical performance. Do not immerse your stethoscope in any liquid or subject it to any sterilization process. If disinfection is required, the stethoscope may be wiped with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution Keep your stethoscope away from extreme heat, cold, solvents and oils Eartips may be removed from the eartubes for thorough cleaning Optimizing the Acoustical Performance If your stethoscope’s acoustical performance appears to be lacking or absent, try one of following: Proper Headset Alignment: All our stethoscopes have headsets which have been designed to be worn at an anatomically correct angle, oriented toward the user’s ear canals. Before placing the eartips in your ears, hold the stethoscope headset in front of you so that the eartubes point away from you. When the eartips are in your ears, the eartips should be pointed forward. Not everyone's ear canals are the same. If after inserting the eartips in proper manner, the fit does not seem comfortable, and acoustic performance does not improve, grasp each of the eartubes, adjusting the headset for a custom fit. Improperly wearing the stethoscope headset can result in poor acoustical seal, and in some cases, complete sound blockage. Proper Fit of Eartips: It is important that the proper sized eartips be used to achieve optimal acoustical performance. This is especially true when using the soft-sealing eartips. If the soft-sealing eartip is too large for the user, the compression of that eartip while in the ear, could result in poor acoustical performance. This could also be true if the eartip is too small. Finding the individual’s correct ear size results in the best acoustical performance. Check for Obstructions: If the stethoscope is commonly carried in a pocket, or hasn't routinely been cleaned, it is possible that lint or dirt could be obstructing the sound pathway. Routine care and maintenance can prevent this from happening. Check the Seal: Stethoscopes rely on an airtight seal in order to transmit body sounds from the patient to the user’s ear. Loose parts in the chestpiece, loose tubing, or cracked tubing can prevent an airtight seal. Index the Bell: When using a double-sided stethoscope, the user needs to open, or index the bell or diaphragm by rotating the chestpiece. If the diaphragm is open, the bell will be closed, preventing sound from coming in through the bell, and vice versa. Stethoscope Terminology Chest Piece: The part of the stethoscope place in contact with the patient in order to listen to internal sounds. Some stethoscopes consist of a double-sided chest piece with a tunable on one or both sides. The larger side is designed for adult patients whilst the smaller side is ideal with infants and thinner patients.
Tunable Diaphragm: Across our range of acoustic stethoscopes a bell and tunable diaphragm are used to hear a wide range of sounds:
Bell Mode (low-frequency) For low-frequency sounds, light contact is used on the chestpiece. The diaphragm membrane is contained by a flexible surround that actually suspends it, allowing the membrane to resonate low-frequency sounds. Diaphragm Mode (high-frequency) For high-frequency sounds, firm contact pressure is used on the chestpiece. By pressing on the chestpiece, the diaphragm membrane moves inward until it reaches an internal ring. The ring simply restricts the diaphragm membrane's movement. It blocks, or attenuates, low-frequency sound and allows you to hear the higher frequency sounds.
Tubing: The tubing running from the chest piece to the headset. Littmann design their tubing to be both flexible and hard-wearing whilst at the same time providing excellent sound transfer.On the cardiology single tube rappaport model two-in-one tube design provides a superb acoustic transfer from chest piece to ear.
Headset: the metal part of the stethoscope between the flexible tubing and the ears. The headset consists of two ear tubes, tension springs to keep them separated and two ear tips.
Ear tips: Designed ergonomically to ensure the best fit in your ears to match stethoscope rim. A ribbed eartube on all our Cardiology Stethoscopes offers a tight fit that won't loosen during routine use. SOLMED® PTY LIMITED 2011-2014 Copyright All rights reserved.
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