Selecting a Stethoscope on Amazon.com
A stethoscope is a medical diagnostic tool consisting of a chest piece, tubing, and a headset for checking blood pressure and assessing heart, lung, and bowel sounds. The chest piece incorporates a bell for listening to low-frequency sounds and a diaphragm for listening to high-frequency sounds. Some stethoscopes have a dual-head chest piece with the bell on one side and the diaphragm on the other. Others, in particular many Littmann stethoscopes, have a single head with a tunable diaphragm that combines the bell and diaphragm and allows switching between the two frequencies by varying the pressure applied to the chest piece. A Littmann stethoscope may also include a non-chill sleeve that fits around the chest piece to provide patient comfort.
Specialized stethoscopes include pediatric, cardiology, and electronic types. A pediatric stethoscope offers chest pieces sized for infants or children. Designed to increase audibility of heart sounds and minimize ambient noise interference, a cardiology stethoscope has thicker, shorter tubing to improve sound transmission and a septum within the tubing that divides sound into two channels. An electronic stethoscope, or digital stethoscope, amplifies sounds, provides ambient noise reduction, and may also allow for sounds to be recorded or transmitted to compatible devices. Most electronic stethoscopes have an LCD that shows information such as the level of amplification, current heart rate, and remaining battery life.
While a stethoscope with black tubing is most common, a variety of colors, including a pink stethoscope, are available for color-coding and personalization. An ID tag, included with some models and also sold separately, can be clipped to almost any stethoscope. To help prolong the life of a stethoscope, certain parts are replaceable, such as the ear tips, tubing, and diaphragm. Stethoscopes are used in medical settings as well as in research laboratories.