Anyone who works in a healthcare facility should be well acquainted with the stethoscope. It's a medical instrument used to hear internal sounds of the body, like the heartbeat. While you can hear those sounds by pressing your head against a person's chest, the stethoscope is more professional and it amplifies the sound. The stethoscope is also one of the most recognized pieces of medical equipment. Even people who have no association with the healthcare field can readily recognize a stethoscope.
Different Types of Stethoscope
All stethoscopes perform the same function but there are three different kinds:
- The acoustic stethoscope is the most common. It's widely used and recognized by most people. It transmits sound via a chestpiece that is placed in the vicinity of the chest. An acoustic stethoscope does amplify sound somewhat, but not very loudly. Because of this, an acoustic stethoscope may not work well in a noisy environment. However, it's easy to use and inexpensive so many healthcare professionals prefer this model.
- The electronic stethoscope isn't very common but it is growing in popularity. It works much like an acoustic stethoscope, except it amplifies sound by electronic means. This causes an increased sound level greater than that provided by an acoustic model. The electric stethoscope can also be used in noisy environments, although that still isn't an ideal setting.
- There is also a fetal stethoscope used to check for fetal heart sounds. However, this type of stethoscope is hardly used anymore. More advanced equipment is now available for monitoring fetal heart sounds, such as the electronic sonicaid.
There are also machines that can record and playback fetal heart sounds. The volume control on these gadgets allows you to adjust the volume of the baby's heartbeat. However, some people claim these machines don't work. So if you work with expectant mothers, be careful about the equipment you use. You may just want to stick to the fetal stethoscope. A fetal stethoscope is normally inexpensive, easy to use, and accurate.
Do You Need a Stethoscope?
All healthcare providers should have a stethoscope nearby. It doesn't matter if you're a doctor, nurse, therapist, or intern, you may need to check a person's chest, lungs, or heart. If you live with elderly people, it's also a good idea to have a stethoscope at home.
When trying to decide which type of stethoscope you need, you should think about how you'll use it. You should also consider the environment. Will you be using it in a quiet place, such as a patient's room or house? Or will you be in an often noisy and hectic emergency room? These are things to think about when choosing a stethoscope.
Comfort should also be considered when choosing a stethoscope. Some earpieces are really uncomfortable, painful even. Finding an earpiece that is soft and comfortable is important. A comfortable earpiece will make the stethoscope much easier to use. When you work in the healthcare field, you need the best medical supplies you can afford.